Tag:Braylon Edwards
Posted on: April 15, 2009 4:47 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2009 10:25 am

Don't Live to Regret: Edwards is a no-'Bray'ner

All the "woulda-shoulda-coulda" stories. Regretting the chances we DIDN'T take. Message to Jerry Reese: Get this guy, get him now.

Do you remember passing on an appetizer at a restaurant? You know, the really tasty looking kind that everyone else ordered but you?

You probably reasoned with yourself - "I can do without it - Mind over matter". You don't know why you felt that way, but hey - you saved a few bucks, saved yourself a few extra pounds, and saved room for your main course, right? The waiter no sooner slapped the plates down on the table and the succulent aroma was already wafting towards you. You could literally see the steam take the form of a hand that curled it's finger - beckoning you to "come here and take a bite". But you didn't... instead you sat and watched everyone else enjoy their appitizer. Of course, they offered to share with you - "C'mon, take some. I can't eat all of this anyway." You sat back, forced yourself to smile and said "Nah, really I'm good. If I wanted it I would have ordered it myself." But... you didn't. And though you were silently kicking yourself for overcomplicating such a simple decision, it evolved into nothing more than saving face. Stupid, right? I'll bet it worked out fine though, because you made up for it by grabbing some ice cream on the way home. That's what I would have done.

A minor regret, easily tucked away and forgotten thanks to a 24-hour Baskin-Robbins.

On weekends, we're all faced with making at least one trip somewhere - to someplace we would rather not be going if given the choice. Usually it's family you don't quite get along with or enjoy being around. Or good friends that happen to live a full 2-hour drive away. But what really burns you is not that you had to go in the first place - it's the fact that you ignored that little voice inside your head that told you there would be massive delays on the parkway. It told you that you should give considerable thought to taking that alternate route you're always so quick to brag about having discovered years ago.  At least now you have something to think about as you pop another piece of nicotene gum in your mouth while stretching every last nerve you own staying calm in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Another small regret that helped toss a perfectly good weekend afternoon into the trash can, but it's not the end of the world.

I remember being at Fairleigh Dickinson University almost 20 years ago for Giants training camp. A retired player - who shall remain nameless for fear that he may track me down - was milling around the commissary. I politely asked him for an autograph and reached out to shake his hand. He ignored me, and didn't even look at me when he said "I'm working. I don't sign while I'm working". A 20-something man acting like a dejected 10-year old, I dropped my head and shuffled away crestfallen (I think i actually shoved my hands in my pockets and kicked a rock as I left). It wasn't asking for the autograph that I regret. It was the comment I made when I saw him later in the day... he was presenting trophies to some pee-wee football team (complete with photographers from the local PennySaver). I uttered "Hey kids, don't bother asking for an autograph - He's 'working' today" as I passed by the group - I even threw in a set of obnoxious air quotes for good measure.

OK, so I was 20-something, but I would be lying if I pretended that there weren't multifaceted levels of regret attached to that incident. It's alright though, because I ran into him years later and everything was cool. And by 'cool", I mean he ignored me again.

And then there's "The Big One".

One big regret that each and every one of us lives with. Maybe it's that girl you were infatuated with and never summoned the courage to ask out on a date. Perhaps it was that promotion or opportunity you held yourself back from pursuing because you felt you had no shot at it. A house or car that you backed away from investing in, because it was "just a bit too..." something; too expensive, too old, too big, too this and too that.

Maybe it was keeping quiet when something needed to be said, or standing up for someone who needed the help. Maybe it was putting off a visit with a loved one until it was too late - never having the chance to say goodbye.

These are real-life. These matter, and these can hurt. They're important in comparison to your allegiance to an NFL team. There's a weight there, and its immesurable - the consequences dynamic. Let's get back to the NFL and lighten things up a bit.

In a few years, we could all be sitting around discussing the trade the Giants didn't make. You know - the one that could have sent Braylon Edwards to the Giants for some draft picks and a receiver? One of the dedicated and talented, yet undeniably not-ready-for-primetime receivers on the Giants roster? Yeah, Edwards had a down year in 2008... he dropped everything thrown to him. Except for that Monday night game in week four against the Giants. You just knew that this 6'3", 220 lb monster of a receiver was going to turn things around. He just needed some consistency from his quarterback, and a coaching staff with a winning attitude. It wasn't as if he was carrying the same baggage that Plaxico Burress did when he made the trip fom Pittsburgh in 2005.

Man, Braylon Edwards would have looked good in Giant blue as our new number 17. Too bad they didn't listen to that little voice in their heads, telling them to give considerable thought to taking that alternate route. Too bad they ignored the outstretched arm of the Cleveland Browns that only wanted a signature and a hand shake. To quote Shelly Levene, the desperately pathetic salesman in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross - "All my thoughts are on them as I'm holding the last thought that I spoke: 'Now is the time'... they signed."

An aroma is wafting towards East Rutherford at this very moment - beckoning for the Giants to "come here and take a bite" out of their offensive shortcomings. It's only a matter of opinion, but Edwards just might be something to invest in - and not worry about whether he's just a little too inconsistent. Or a little too expensive.

It's not life or death. But it's certainly not something that can be satiated by stopping off at a 24-hour Baskin-Robbins, either.



Posted on: March 8, 2009 9:28 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2009 10:03 am

NYG: Is Antonio Pierce one of Reese's Pieces?

 Should this man be worried?

Wheelin' on defense may fuel dealin' for offense. I say Antonio's odd man out.

It's been quite an active couple of weeks on the defensive side of the ball for General Manager Jerry Reese; at least newly hired defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan will have his fair share of lineman and linebackers to rotate in and out of the lineup. But even with the number of Giants defenders jumping into the free agency pool, you can't help but wonder if signing these three relatively young players - all which appear to have tremendous upside - isn't greasing the skids for a big trade for one of the few big-name recievers still out there as rumored to be on the block.

At the end of February, a number of players declared free agency; among them were two defensive ends, Renaldo Wynn and Jerome McDougal. McDougal was a stop-gap measure following the season-ending injury to Osi Umenyiora last year against the Jets (yet another devistating loss in another meaningless pre-season game against the Jets. The Giants should seriously look into changing this annual pre-season matchup because it's beyond creepy the sheer coincidence that someone always seems to go down for the count in this game). He was inactive for 12 games, and did very little in the four games he suited up for (1 tackle, 1 assist). Wynn had been signed in the off-season as a backup to Justin Tuck, who was annointed the starting job upon the retirement of Micael Strahan.

Assuming that Umenyiora and Tuck are back at full strength for the upcoming season, it would be understandable to move on and replace Wynn and McDougal with younger, healthier talent . The other key defensive names on the free agent - R.W. McQuarters and James Butler - are not going to make or break the team this season. Even though James Butler had some solid outings in 2008, there's no way he's going to beat out Kenny Phillips or Michael Johnson for a starting job at safety, especially since Johnson was able to shift to the SS position with great success when Butler missed a couple of games. Reese also recognized the sounds of Father Time's chimes and cut elder statesmen Sam Madison and Sammy Knight. Zzzzz.... no loss that can't be recovered. 

So then comes the obvious but essential question: Why Rocky Bernard, Chris Canty and Michael Boley?

 Chris Canty        Michael Boley         Rocky Bernard

Boley had a great campaign in 2007 that should have resulted in a Pro Bowl appearance, but hit the skids a bit last season under the Atlanta Falcon's new coaching staff. Chris Canty is another player that has had a productive career that struggled a bit last season due to some nagging injuries and a few undoubtedly annoying distractions in Dallas. Both are entering their 5th season, while Bernard is heading into his 8th. But Bernard (defensive tackle), Boley (an outside linebacker) and Canty (a defensive end) appear to create a strange situation... Chase Blackburn, Gerris Wilkinson and rookie Bryan Kehl all covered the weakside LB position last year, and the duo of Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield are already entrenched between the aformentioned Tuck and Umenyiora up on the line.

Jerry Reese has to be thinking about the way the pass rush and tackling performance declined week after week as the season progressed. Great ideas and innovative blitzing packages that can't be executed due to exhaustion and injuries remain... well, they just remain great ideas. There's no question that the gauntlet of teams the Giants faced mid-season (Steelers, Cowboys, Eagles, Ravens, Redskins, Panthers) took it's toll on them physically and mentally - more so than the Plaxico Burress circus did.  Fred Robbins is 32 and entering his 10th season; without a doubt he lost steam by the time the Giants hit the playoffs. The same goes for Justin Tuck, who played through alot of pain during the last few weeks.

It's quite possible that Bernard could compete for - and win - the starting job from Robbins. Worst case scenario, whoever lands on the losing end of that spot becomes an experienced, motivated situational player that can provide a lot of rest and recuperation time to the starters. Throw in Canty as a compliment to Justin and Osi, and this makes an already formidable unit more talented, more flexible and - most importantly - deeper and healthier.

Or, Reese pulls the trigger on a deal for Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin.

The buzz around town has been a trade to the Browns involving Mathias Kiwanuka. According to New York Daily news writer Ralph Vacchiano, "That is definitely not happening, according to several sources. I think that rumor just grew out of fans (and media) trying to figure out what the Giants are going to do with their surplus on the D-line". Besides, Kiwanuka was doing a solid job at the outside linebacker position until asked to move (once again) to DE following (once again) the Umenyiora injury. The Giants Organization has had a crush on Kiwanuka since the day they drafted him, and I don't suspect they'd be looking to end the relationship - even for a stud reciever who can "give them what they need".  

As a Giants fan, I have to believe that Jerry Reese is actively pursuing a deal with one of these two teams, for one of these two receivers. And the only way he can swing a deal without completely dismantling his drafts over the next two years is two include a viable defensive player or two. But it's not going to be Kiwanuka, Tuck or Umenyiora. Fred Robbins is getting up there in age and has weight issues, on top of the injuries he's suffered the past two seasons. The secondary is strong, but not very deep right now... eeny... meeny... miney...

And now,  my thoughts on Antonio Pierce.

Call me crazy. I've always been someone who thinks ahead to stay ahead. Sometimes that leaves quite an omelett on my face, and in the interest of saving time I always wind up missing some sort of "landmine" right in front me. There's also the possibility - and this is pure speculation on my part -  that Antonio Pierce could be a moving part in all this. 

Look at the situation for what it is. First of all, Pierce will be 31 years old in October. To date, the Giants haven't opened themselves up to discuss a contract extension with Pierce, who's $26-million deal expires at the end of the 2010 season. Pierce has been vocal about how ticked-off he is regarding the situation. Back in August, Pierce spoke outside of the Giants locker room, "I've been here four years and I sense that sometimes here. And it has nothing to do with financial stuff. I'm just talking about strictly as a football player, as a teammate, as an employee of the Giants. I don't know. I just get that sense. It's just the way people approach me. Obviously there are some comments, like 'Are you one of the guys? Or are you just a guy?'.

Pierce continued, "It's not about wanting to redo your contract, it's about wanting to end your career somewhere... I don't plan on playing just three more years. That doesn't mean you want to make $7 million or $8 million or some crazy pay raise. You want the security that you're going to be here. I don't want to play for no other team. And it ain't about 50 cents or a million dollars. It's about appreciation. It's not always about 'X' amount of dollars. It's about letting you know that I'm your guy."

To this day, The Giants have not told Pierce whether or not he's their "Guy". And to me, that means something. Keep in mind, Pierce said this in August - before the season began. Before he was getting beaten regularly on coverage, before he looked slow defending the pass over the middle. He was burned by Brian Westbrook, and he was burned by DeAngelo Williams. He was always banged up in some way shape or form, and yet still found the time to be out at 2 O'Clock in the morning partying with Plaxico Burress and Ahmad Bradshaw the night before the team was heading to Washington to face the Redskins. 

Not enough trouble to grab headlines or get suspended, but enough disappointment to change an Organization's view of you as a leader.

Yes, Pierce seems to be the emotional leader of the defense, but 2008 may have pushed Giants brass over to a more concrete position known as "let's wait and see" when it comes to Antonio's future with the Giants. In my book, the "let's wait and see" approach usually means you should get your resume together. And anyone who watched the Giants consistently last year can attest to the fact that Chase Blackburn wasn't much of a dropoff at middle linebacker. At least if they were being honest they could.

Can Blackburn, Boley and Kiwanuka hold the fort? Maybe they can. Maybe the Giants are hoping that Arizona or Cleveland will look at Pierce as an emotional leader that has two years left on a contract that is relatively inexpensive to what a free agent would cost. Perhaps you keep Fred Robbins... and throw in a young, promising tackle like Jay Alford as part of a deal as well? Add a first round draft pick and perhaps a 4th round pick, and you just might have something a general manager for Cleveland or Arizona would lose sleep over.  

The "denuemont"...

Today I cleaned out my refrigerator and found an unopened tub of cream cheese way in the back, on the bottom shelf. I'm estimating that I bought it sometime in early January, and it just so happened that today was the expiration date. For some reason, I popped the top, peeled back the protective plastic cover and took a whiff. It smelled perfectly fine... so I threw it right in the trash can. Not because it went bad, but because I realized I must not have wanted it all that much - even though I'd spent the money for it. I had pretty much decided to throw it out the moment I saw the expiration date, but I still wanted to check to see if it was still viable. I have no idea why.

Coaches and general managers make statements every day, and most of them have extremely short shelf life. Jerry Reese has said that the Giants would be just fine if they started the season with Steve Smith, Domenick Hixon and Mario Manningham; Amani Toomer is on the market and the senior circuit of the secondary is out looking for work. After signing Rocky Bernard and beefing up both the defensive end and linebacker positions, there's only one starting spot left on Big Blue's depth chart with an expiration date that the front office needs to be concerned about. It may be expendable, and yet at the same time viable.



References: NY Daily News - Ralph Vacchiano article from Saturday, August 30th 2008  /  "The Blue Screen: Live Chat from March 5th 2009.





The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com