The Plain Pontificators of Positivity

Once was a time when this NY Giants blog was known as the nattering nabobs of negativity. We espoused gloom and doom for the team. We built a reputation for being critical of too many Giants moves. A decade of misery (2012-2021) unfortunately proved us correct, as our annual trashings of Reese and Gettleman were accurate predictors of underachievement. In that 10 year period, the Giants went to the playoffs once and lost. Our main criticism of Reese was that he failed to protect his franchise (Eli Manning) with an Offensive Line worthy of the QB’s many talents. Our main criticism of David Gettleman was that he made way too many bad decisions and had awful architecture. Both GMs failed. Mara’s loyalty kept them both at the helm roughly two years longer than each deserved.

This blog desperately asked for Mara to go outside the walls of his building for fresh blood. He finally did! Joe Schoen is the breath of fresh air we craved.

Schoen cleaned out the old deadwood that piled up after 10 years of rot. He showed restraint in his first months in the new job by reigning in spending and swallowing Gettleman’s poison cap pill. Discipline. Patience. Then Schoen discharged two scouts on the Monday after the 2022 Draft was over. It is still a little early to proclaim victory with new culture inside 1925 Giants Drive. Yet nearly everything Schoen has done this far is what the UltimateNYG doctor ordered. We believe in Schoen. We believe in his coach, Brian Daboll. We believe in the Giants future.

Call us the plain pontificators of positivity.

In the last post, we were very pleased with the first wave of free agent signings of the Giants. Wonder was effusive in praise. We purposefully juxtaposed this with Wonder’s disparaging remarks on three of Gettleman’s early prominent signings, calling them “overvalued”, “overpaid”, and “just a guy.” This was validated with timestamps in March and May before any of them played a snap in blue.

Part of winning is losing. There is variance in sports and life. You take chances and sometimes it doesn’t work out. But if you keep on taking smart calculated risks, you will come out ahead. In 2006, Accorsi made a move which we loved. It did not work out, but it is the kind of risk you take every time. He signed LaVar Arrington with a creative contract that was heavily incentive-laden. When you read the link on the contract, they explain that Arrington was a freelancer. It was this blogger’s conjecture that former Washington teammate Antonio Pierce (Batman) would unleash Arrington (Robin) at the line of scrimmage. Go back to minute 22:45 of the game tape of NY Giants at Dallas in 2006 Week 7, and watch Arrington time the snap and get shot out of a cannon for a sack safety. This was the upside reward of the signing, making impact plays. Who was the most excited after the play? #58, MLB Pierce. Arrington was coming into his own on this day, with so much ahead, until he literally had his career ended later in the same game by a torn achilles tendon.

How can we celebrate a new 7 year contract that ended in 6 weeks? There was only $5M in guarantees for such a lengthy deal, and an achilles tendon is part of the variance in football. You take chances, and sometimes it does not work out.

Back to 2023, Joe Schoen is doing the same thing as Accorsi. His trade for Waller is a very similar setup to Arrington. Some injuries along with Pro Bowl talent. Runway on the contract. The moon and the stars if it works out. Is there risk? Absolutely. But the reward is a star playmaker if you score. You have to accept the risk in return for having a bonafide pro bowl stud asset for Jones.

Another move we noted in the last post with great reward and low risk is Parris Campbell. The 1 year deal is particularly exciting; there is nothing like the motivation of a player to stay healthy and on the field like a 1 year “prove it” arrangement.

Since posting last week, the Giants picked up slot WR Jamison Crowder. Here is another guy who is signed for 1 year. “Prove it.” The Giants have 3 slot guys who need to prove they can stay on the field: Wan’dale Robinson, Parris Campbell, and Jamison Crowder. Slot by injury committee? Slot by hungry competition to get snaps? These 3 guys have all proven they have ability. They need to stay on the field and have the proper incentive.

There are 3 things that are in play in free agency:
(1) Ability– performance track record
(2) Availability– injury track record
(3) Age– time assessment

If you want the whole enchilada, you are going to pay. Show me a young and healthy pro-bowler and I will show you a guy who is going to get paid big in Free Agency. Depending on his position, if the GM is doing his job, that player will not see the light of day and will get re-signed before hitting the market. Think Andrew Thomas, who has ability (2nd team All Pro), availability (45 out of 51 possible starts), and the right age (24). He would score a 3 out of 3 if he hit Free Agency. Most other players are lacking in one or two of those three keys.

Campbell has 2 (ability and age). Crowder has 1 (ability). Details of Crowder’s contract have not been released beyond it being a 1 year deal. He will be 30 years old when the season starts and his availability has tapered off (12 starts in 2019, then 7 starts, 4 starts, and 0 starts in 2022). Based on a score of 1 out of 3, I want to see a skinny deal with incentives for performance.

So who are the new nattering nabobs of negativity? This plain pontificator of positivity will expose them in the next post.

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