Injury and Risk

How do you incorporate injury information into a Drafting decision? NY Giants Underground blogger Glenn Warciski pored over video clips to get GM Dave Gettleman’s additional disclosures on what (tf) happened with the Sam Beal supplemental selection. Gettleman knew about the shoulder injury before the draft. That was all he would say. There was nothing more.

If we know about the shoulder injury to Beal and the significant risk (that he’d potentially be out 2018), the value in the pick is gone and I simply wouldn’t do that. If my MDs said that and that he would be 100% in 2019, I’d maybe use a R5 pick. Not a R3. It’s just not the same selection anymore. Remember, everyone (including us) praised the selection because it also addressed need… and we targeted contributions in the second half of the 2018 season.

Glenn brings up the analogy to Owa Odighizuwa. His reference is to the hip injuries (plural) he had in college before being taken in (coincidentally or not) Round 3 back in 2015. If you take a guy with an injury past, his pick has to drop. Think Armstead. Round 8. He was hurt in college. His value dropped. Another part of the dynamic is that those who are injured get reinjured elsewhere in their body. Like it or not, in football the strong survive and the weak get hurt. Some of that is in the Owa example. This is a Football GM’s life. The best place to start is at the draft. You need to get paid for the risk. Todd Gurley needed to fall. Josh Rosen needed to fall. When the Armsteads hit and they have long Pro Bowl careers, he was a steal. No he wasn’t. There are too many others out there who can’t stay healthy. They all need to fall. If Gurley tears another ACL and his career is shot, everyone who got out of the way will have been smart. If he is injury-free, the Rams are smart. The Rams took the risk and live with that.

What kind of shoulder injury does Beal have? Even now we “assume” it is the kind where a complete recovery is a given. If it is a more troublesome type of injury, Beal’s value drops further. Wonder explains that the shoulder for a CB is very important in tackling. Remember also that Beal is undersized. “If it’s an ACV joint or a labrum, that is a much bigger issue,” said Wonder. Once again, the Giants haven’t disclosed whether the injury was exacerbated by any activity that was reported in rookie pre-camp a week ago.

In the 2010 draft, Wonder had a difficult eval. Where do you draft JPP? He saw the immense upside but openly said I’m not drafting anybody in Round 1 who has 11 college starts. One of the reasons why is because you don’t know about how his body will hold up to the rigors of the game. So Wonder ranked him 33rd overall, at the beginning of R2, and we did not see the “value” in the pick (at 15) in R1. There was a risk/uncertainty that we needed to get paid for, argued Wonder. JPP had a back problem almost immediately (hide and seek?) and contended with many physical issues during his career. His contributions to the 2011 season (XLVI) were enormous, as there is no way the Giants win the title without him (think about the blocked FG vs Dallas alone!). Still, a Round 1 investment needs a pristine track record and the Giants realized both the upside AND the downside in that same selection.

The bottomline: injury issues are a major part of draft evaluation. Risks must be accounted for. The track record performance of a player on the field is scrutinized. The health of a player must be scrutinized just as well. Draft slots are currency. You need to get paid for injury risk when you know it is there. We don’t know all the facts behind the decision to take Beal, but given everything we do know, there was more risk than what was allotted in Round 3.

In Pads

First day of pads at training camp. I like reading the reports of Dan Schneier at 247sports.com He’s well informed and isn’t corrupted by the process. Here’s a summary and our takeaways.

1) It shouldn’t surprise anyone here that Connor Barwin and Lorenzo Carter are dominating the 2nd stringers on the OL. Why? Wonder told us. He said Connor Barwin was “a football player” when he was signed. That’s parlance for… “don’t worry about this guy holding up his end, he’s a gamer and a guy you want on your team all day long.”

As for Carter, the press and fans have been fawning over BJ Hill incessantly.. the other R3 pick. Wonder as a draft analyst isn’t perfect by any means, so we as Giants fans quietly rooted (and root) for Hill to do great things even if we were tepid on the pick. The other R3 pick, Lorenzo Carter, was the one that Wonder was raving about. Carter was an honorable mention in his Top 50 Draft Board, which implied a low 50’s ranking. He went 66th overall and we loved how he played the edge at Georgia. Wonder looked at the Giants depth chart and said on Day 2 of the draft that Carter would start on Week 1. Then a couple of days before camp, the Giants bring in Barwin, a football player. So if Barwin stops Carter from starting, we can live with that. You can’t have enough good LBers in a 3-4.

Now as for the other side of this, jeez Louise. The 2nd string OL. Good God. Cover your eyes. All we can say is, Giants fans pray that no one gets hurt. We liked Jones last year, as he and Fluker did a good job together getting a ground game going as the season wore on. Halapio has taken 1st string snaps. That makes Jones 2nd string. He’s the only guy that gives us any confidence in being a backup at Center or Guard. The rest? We’re praying. The good news is it’s early so maybe someone can improve and rise above the borscht.

2) Mara had one brief sentence about being worried about the hype over Barkley. Stop worrying. He’s the real freaking deal. Wonder had this guy as the #1 player on his Board for the Draft. Gettleman implied this was the best pure prospect he’s seen in the last 20+ years. He. Is. Not. Blair. Thomas.

Our only reservation is the position he plays. While he’s healthy, he’ll deliver. The reports from Spring OTAs were crazy effusive. That continues in Training Camp. Hasn’t dropped a ball. All defenders (including Ogletree) have trouble with him in open space. My only concern is injuries. Call me a worrier. Oh right, I’m a risk manager in my day job. So understand statistically the risks of this guy #2 overall. He can be great for 5 yrs in a row and all of a sudden in Year 6 he gets hurt. That’s my only reservation. So I’m not worried about hype. I’m worried about hurt. Right now let’s stop worrying about anything and enjoy the fact that he’s a stud.

3) Historically it’s not that easy for the Special Teams WR to break into the Offensive rotation. Generally speaking, either they can’t learn the playbook, they can’t run a good crisp route, or they literally can’t catch. So for any of the above reasons, we are cautious about getting too optimistic on Cody Latimer. If he does break through, it would be an incredible bonus. Huge for depth. Show me.

4) Olivier Vernon has the skill. He has the ability. He makes impact plays. Stay healthy please.

Ronnie Barnes Part 2

Will someone please explain to us what happened to CB Sam Beal? I was chatting about this with UltimateNYG analyst Wonder, and he wanted to know what happened to his shoulder. Knowledgeable enough about medicine, he can distinguish between the relative seriousness of different injuries.. enough to know what the chances are for full recovery etc. (He wasn’t nicknamed Wonder for nothing.) So fans just want to know what’s going on. Instead we get (relatively) nothing.

We’ve seen this movie before. Back when Palmieri was the Strength & Conditioning Coach and the NY Giants were suffering injuries year after year, we got.. nothing. The media was useless. Why? Why wasn’t it investigated and analyzed more thoroughly? The best explanation we could come up with was that Ronnie Barnes smothered any attempts by writers to go near the subject. He runs “Medical Services” with an iron fist and has more power within the organization than arguably ANYONE. The owners? Apparently even they don’t ask too many questions either.

So we have to pick through tiny snippets to get any clue as to wtf happened. One report had Beal in an unlikely entanglement with another rookie earlier this week before camp officially began (rookies/QBs only). Shurmur said they were aware of shoulder “issues” before he was drafted. He said it wasn’t clear if Beal was done for the season. And that’s it.

You draft literally the first player to go off in the supplemental and, oh yah, we knew about his shoulder and we’ll see how it goes.

What we suspect is happening is that as soon as any follow up questions emerge, Shurmur (/Head Coach) is instructed to reply: “You’ll have to speak to Medical.” That means Ronnie Barnes … which effectively ends the conversation and flow of information.

Fans would like to know about depth at CB. How serious is the injury? Will he make a full recovery? Barnes and crickets.

Training Camp 2018 Begins

Here’s a summary of the first day from camp:

1) Longtime blog follower Manny G was at the first practice. He commented about a few notables… Will Hernandez is too big, too strong and too fast for everyone to get around. While it’s way too early (they aren’t even in pads yet), Hernandez looks like a big thumbs up.

Eli Apple was active and good.

Saquon Barkley is the alpha. He catches everything. Apparently word is his quads can be seen from the Space Station.

2) Giants.com reported that Connor Barwin made Wheeler look really bad on one move. Undressed. While Flowers looked aok (not going to believe that until I see it Week 1 vs Jacksonville), depth at OL becomes a huge issue. Beyond Jones, who is there? The Offensive Tackle position is a question mark on a good day. We need to watch this to see what the depth looks like.

3) OBJ was active. As expected by everyone (Dima?), there was no holdout. He looked fine and Shepard raved about him.

4) Engram is ready to explode. He only had 700 yds as a rookie. It’s hard to imagine how his yds will go up (significantly) when you add OBJ and Saquad into the mix… but between better scheme and his second year, he’s going to kill it.

CB Sam Beal Lost For Season

What the %#*€ just happened? The ink was barely dry on supplemental draft pick Sam Beal’s contract, and he is gone for the 2018 season. If we are stunned, what do you think is happening within the Giants organization? Word from 247sports is that Beal suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in practice on Monday with the rookies. Aaaah! Training Camp hadn’t even started! Dan Schneier: “He got tangled up with a teammate during Monday’s practice– very unlucky and unfortunate.”

Unfortunate is an understatement. The Giants were thin at CB to start with. Two weeks ago they made (what appeared to be) a very good move by using a Round 3 pick to grab Beal. He was rated a late Round 1 to early Round 2 value by our analyst, Wonder, who gave the move a thumb’s up. Just a couple of days ago we were in collective agreement that if your team was due to finish 8-8 in the 2018 season (the Over Under line), then this represents great value because you are giving up a 2019 mid Round 3 selection for this player. The Giants were leveraging a 66th pick (early R3) in the supplemental draft, so that was more value. We suspect other teams picking later that Round would have taken Beal, but the Giants were able to double dip on their high slot from going 3-13 in 2017. The calculus got better when one considered the lack of depth at the position, which addressed need. While we didn’t expect Beal to compete for meaningful snaps until the latter part of 2018, it was still going to ideally help a stretch drive.

Poof. Gone. Memories flood in from 2002 when the Giants drafted another Round 3 player, T Jeff Hatch. The circumstances of that rookie draft pick were different and suspicious, as he suffered a back injury from the moment camp started. In his second practice he had back spasms. In his third practice he was “injured.” What made it unusual was the posturing of his agent, who wanted assurances in Spring OTAs that his unsigned client would be protected for playing without a contract. Then HC Jim Fassel remarked- draft pick Lawrence Taylor doesn’t show up in the Spring with a contract, so what is this garbage?! It made us believe Hatch knowingly had back problems all along. We can’t prove it, but imagine the setback to your franchise.

More details will emerge. It’s a big loss. Clearly the Giants organization made this aggressive move for Beal in part because they wanted him NOW, for 2018. That was part of the value. Hopefully Beal’s career is still on track, but plenty was lost. Today’s NFL sees major contributions from its rookies. Alvin Kamara may be cherry picking, but he was a Round 3 pick that jump-started the Saints Offense. Last year alone we saw Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson and Wayne Gallman make significant contributions to the Giants with 28 collective starts and 1400 yards from scrimmage. So rookies matter. Now the Giants are going to scour the waiver wire after training camp cuts. DRC is still out there but I don’t know how they can make the money work with barely any cap space left. Onward with.. the beginning of camp.

Connor Barwin

We spoke with UltimateNYG’s analyst Wonder about the signing of Connor Barwin. It is a short deal for 2 years and “up to $5M,” so that is reasonable. The media is focusing on the sack numbers, specifically 5 sacks last season, but that should not be the focus. Yes, Barwin will be able to apply pressure situationally, but he will fall into a couple of sacks here and there. His game is less about pressuring the QB every snap than setting the edge. He is a football player, the greatest compliment Wonder will give in this sport.

Barwin is a playmaker. He is a great teammate, a great team player… Alec Ogletree’s immediate reaction echoed this when he tweeted: “Couldn’t ask for a better teammate!” The two played together last year for the Rams.

Still, you don’t find players laying around on the eve of camp for short (and relatively) inexpensive signings unless they have some issues. Wonder explains that, at 31 years old, Barwin has lost some of his game. He still can play at a high level, but don’t think of the guy from 2014 who got 14.5 sacks. He’s a little dinged up but he is still someone you want on your team. One weakness in his game is that he is not going to be effective in covering the Running Back out of the backfield.

“Barwin is a good, smart, tough team player,” says Wonder. “He plays every game and will provide good depth.”

The Giants added a high character guy to a locker room that should see an immediate turnaround. Yes, Barwin is very smart. Better to face Saquon Barkley in practice than on Game Day.

12 years and Counting

UltimateNYG is back up as an independent site. After 9 years with Bloquin and The Sports Daily, it was time for a change. Thanks for staying with us.

Since blogging the NY Giants continuously since 2006, it has been great going through two Super Bowls and calling out the bad along with the good along the way. We were one of the earliest out there to call Jerry Reese a mediocre GM when others were blindly hailing “In Reese We Trust.” Trust was rust, and 2017 was the result of 2010-2012’s drafts when the Giants GM did not proactively reinvest in his Offensive Line. The rest is a 3-13 nightmare that we can now put behind us as we embark on 2018.

Out of the ashes came the 2nd and 34th pick in the Draft. The Giants went Hare with the best player in this year’s crop, Saquon Barkley. But it was the 34th pick, Will Hernandez, that really got us excited. We called for it in our Draft Board of Wonder’s Top 50. We asked for it before Day 1 was finished, and we celebrated when the Giants called out the Road Grader from UTEP’s name.

Rookies and QBs are already in camp. OBJ has let the media know that he is not holding out and will report on time. Let Shurmur’s Giants begin preparations for what looks to be a turnaround season. While it will be hard to overcome all of the deficiencies that created a 3-13 season in one year, Dave Gettleman has done a decent job of patching it together. Guys like Solder, Omameh, Ogletree and (today’s signing of) Barwin will give the Giants some stability at positions of need. Many Giants were injured last year, so their return will also provide a needed lift. The schemes of Bettcher should help the Defense. With a new 3-4 scheme, it will not be all roses but there should be a better team in December than there is in September. If Ereck Flowers can improve his technique while getting supported by a better scheme, the Offense will be much better too.

My advice is to be careful about the Giants and Fantasy. There are simply too many talented hands and not enough snaps for them all to rack up those points. How can OBJ kill it when Engram and Shep and Barkley are doing great things in a balanced game plan. Each week one of them will individually shine but it will be hard for any one player to get enough touches to dominate on their own. That is a great thing for the team.

Are you ready for some football?!!