BBI Giants Training Camp Preview: Key Questions Heading Into the 2008 Training Camp by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
Giants Trade Jeremy Shockey to Saints: In a move that had been speculated about since well before the Draft, the Giants traded disgruntled TE Jeremy Shockey to the New Orleans Saints yesterday. In return, the Giants received the Saints’ 2nd and 5th round draft picks in the 2009 NFL Draft. The deal will become official once Shockey passes a physical.
“We were kind of hoping he would get over it and change his mind because we weren’t really looking to trade him,” an unidentified high-ranking team official told The Star-Ledger. “The Saints held firm (to the offer they made before the Draft) and with camp set to begin we felt it was best to trade him…He was practically begging to be traded. He just didn’t want to be here anymore. We just felt if he came into camp with that attitude he would be disruptive and it would be a problem.”
“(New Orleans’ Head Coach Sean) Payton will use him,” said the official. “Sean was salivating to get him. He could have a great year, no doubt about it. How he deals with the New Orleans nightlife is another issue.”
“He just didn’t want to be here,” another unidentified team official told The Daily News. “It’s sad because he could’ve had it all. He could’ve finished his career here. But he just didn’t want to do it.”
The Star-Ledger is reporting that the Giants fined Shockey $25,000 for conduct detrimental to the team for his behavior during the full-squad mini-camp in June.
The Daily News is reporting that the only teams that pursued Shockey were the Saints and Dolphins. One unidentified source told The Daily News that a trade of Shockey for DE Jason Taylor was discussed but “the talks never got very far.” However, The Bergen Record is reporting that a three-way deal involving the Giants, Saints, and Dolphins that would have sent Taylor to the Giants was still being discussed on Saturday. The Record says the deal fell through when the Dolphins denied the Giants permission to talk to Taylor. Once Taylor was traded to the Redskins on Sunday, the Giants moved to finalize the deal with the Saints.
Meanwhile, officially, Giants’ officials had gracious things to say about Shockey.
“Jeremy Shockey was a great competitor and contributor during his years with the Giants,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “We wish him well in New Orleans.”
“Jeremy is a very talented football player who always played with great enthusiasm and great effort,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He was excited about playing. Jeremy always enjoyed being a physical football player and a tough football player. He’s an outstanding football player who plays the game full speed and plays the game the way it was meant to be played. He is a physical blocker who is a gifted athlete with the ball in his hands after receiving the ball down the field. I wish him the best.”
“Jeremy brought great energy to the game every time he stepped on the field,” said Giants’ President/CEO John Mara. “He had a close relationship with my father from the time we drafted him, and I had a couple of long conversations with Jeremy this spring and summer. From those conversations, it was apparent to me that a fresh start was the best thing for us and for Jeremy.”
“I really appreciate the effort that Jeremy gave on behalf of our organization,” said Giants’ Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch. “We had a special relationship, and I wish him nothing but the best…February 3rd must have been a very difficult day for him. I really hope from his point of view, this is the resolution he was looking for.”
“He didn’t want to be (with the Giants) and when you don’t want to be somewhere you have to find somewhere you’re happy at, from a personal standpoint,” said WR Plaxico Burress. “Me personally, I want him around. Jeremy’s probably one of the top reasons I came to New York. People talk about how we’re a better team without him, but those are the people that don’t know football. I hear that and it’s like, ‘You people are crazy. You’ve never played a down of football in your life, so what would you even know?’ The guy walks on the field and he demands a double team. Before he even straps it up and goes out to play, he’s already made the team better. Him going to New Orleans, he makes them one of the best offenses in the league.”
“For us, we made that run to the Super Bowl without him, so now we’ll see if we’re better without him over a 16-game schedule,” continued Burress. “People got the playoff run and winning the Super Bowl mixed up with what that guy did for that organization over the past six years he’s been there. That’s the breaking point for me. You win five games without the guy and all of a sudden it’s like the guy doesn’t exist. But he’s one of the main reasons why I became a Giant and why we got to the playoffs last year. I know for a fact we wouldn’t have made it to the playoffs if he hadn’t played at all. I’m more or less upset at the fact we could have traded him a long time ago.”
“For me, personally, it’s sad,” said LB Antonio Pierce. “A good friend, a great teammate. I think for the organization, everybody thinks it is a sad situation.”
Pierce was asked why it came to trading Shockey.“You know what? I really don’t know,” answered Pierce. “Here’s a guy, spent six years here (and) did everything. I mean, he was a Pro Bowler. His numbers speak for themselves. He even helped us this year. Everyone wants to put the blame on him or pick on him a little bit saying we were better without him. That’s not the case. We were 9-5 with Shockey. Shockey wasn’t happy. Obviously, the Giants, the front office people upstairs weren’t happy. You wish he could still be a New York Giant but that’s not what either one of the parties wanted. He wanted to get away. The Giants finally dealt him. So for me, personally, it’s sad. I think I speak for all my teammates when I say we’ll miss Shockey. The Saints are getting a hell of a player. He’s a great guy. He’s a great teammate. There’s more positive things to say about Shockey than all the negative things that the media portray him as.”
“He was more than just a tight end, he was definitely an offensive weapon,” said DE/DT Justin Tuck. “Teams definitely have to scout for him and put in packages just for him. Obviously we don’t have that now, but it’s a team thing. We got guys that are ready to step up and fill the shoes…It does hurt the team, but it was the right move for us…I’d much rather play with a guy who wants to be here than with a guy who doesn’t want to be here. Regardless of his talent. It gives us the opportunity to turn the focus where it needs to be. The team with the least distractions has a heads up on people who do have it. We can go into camp with the ball rolling.”
“It’s the business of football, it’s what happens,” said LG Rich Seubert. “You have to move on. We’ll be fine without him and best of luck to him wherever he goes.”
With Shockey traded, the Giants currently have five tight ends on the roster: Kevin Boss, Darcy Johnson, Michael Matthews, Jerome Collins, and Eric Butler. “We have five young kids who are all vying for the position,” said Coughlin. “The tight end position will be a very competitive position in training camp.”
Editorials on TE Jeremy Shockey:
Plaxico Says He Will Be at Camp: WR Plaxico Burress, who has made it publicly known that he is unhappy with his current contract, says he will report to training camp on July 24. Burress reported to the full-squad mini-camp in June, but did not practice at that time in protest. The Star-Ledger is reporting that the Giants fined Burress $42,000 for skipping five meetings at the mini-camp.
“I’m going to be at camp,” said Burress. “I’m going to get out and practice. I said that I may not have, but the smarter thing for me to do is to show up and show my teammates I’m ready to play football. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t have gotten to this point…We’ve been trying to get this thing done and it doesn’t seem like it’s really important to (the Giants). But it’s not the first time this has happened to a player, even a guy like myself who wants to be around and wants to retire a Giant. It never should have gotten to this point. I’m not saying I don’t want to be around. I don’t want to leave. That’s the most encouraging thing is I don’t want to leave. But there’s apparently more to it.”
“But they’re working hard to get it done,” said Burress. “I’m talking to my agent every day. I sat down and met with him today. I’m just waiting on a phone call.”
“The goal continues to be to try and get something done before the start of training camp,” said Burress’ agent. “I don’t know whether that’s going to happen. To the Giants credit, though, they’ve been working on it.”
However, two unidentified sources have told The Daily News that a new deal is not imminent. According to the paper, Burress is seeking $8-9 million per season and the Giants have “gone about as far as they’re willing to go.”
Giants Sign CB Terrell Thomas: The Giants have signed CB Terrell Thomas, their 2nd round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. The only remaining unsigned draft pick is S Kenny Phillips (1st round).
Giants Officially Sign RT Shane Olivea: As expected, the Giants signed RT Shane Olivea yesterday after he passed his physical with the team.
Because of this move, we have updated the 2008 Free Agent Scorecard, Free Agent Signings (includes scouting report on Olivea), Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.
Giants Sign OL Jonathan Palmer: The Giants have signed OL Jonathan Palmer. Palmer was recently waived by the Oakland Raiders.
Because of this move, we have updated the 2008 Free Agent Scorecard, Free Agent Signings (includes scouting report on Palmer), Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.
Giants Waive Three Offensive Linemen: The Giants have waived the following three offensive linemen: Brandon Torrey, Dylan Thiry, and Andrew Bain.
Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.
Giants.com Training Camp Running Backs Position Preview: A training camp running backs position preview is available at Giants.com.
Quotes: LB Antonio Pierce on TE Kevin Boss: “I think Boss is capable of (being Shockey’s replacement). We’ve only really seen four, five games of him last year really playing, starting at the end of the season. He gained a lot of weight this off-season, a lot of muscle. The guy looks strong. He was running routes real good in mini camp and OTAs. Now here comes the mental part. Is he going to be able to adjust? (For) sixteen weeks, alright now you’re the guy. You’re the starter. There ain’t no more, alright Shockey you need a breather or here comes our two tight end set. No, you’re the guy now, Boss. I think, from a mental standpoint, I think he prepared for it well this off-season, this spring, kinda hearing all the rumors about what was going on with Shockey. I think the development is going to be crucial for him. He’s going to have to mentally get in the playbook and prepare himself to be a starter for 16 games.”
Pierce on tight ends Darcy Johnson and Michael Matthews: “The good thing about (Matthews and Johnson), they have played. Darcy Johnson, I think he got activated the last three or four games in 2006 (and) got injured early in training camp last year. (He) was having a good training camp. He came back. He’s a guy who added some weight, was in the weight room all off-season, looks like he’s doing well from that standpoint. But, again, he’s coming off an ACL. Everybody knows that takes a good year and a half to two to recover. Matthews played a lot last year for us even when Shockey was healthy. We had that three tight end rotation. The guy can help you on special teams. He played in the playoff stretch. He’s a guy that’s gonna do the dirty work for you, can block. (You) can put them at the H-back, you can put him at the fullback position. He’s a guy who gives us a lot of different scenarios as far as where we can play him and how we can use him. Like I said, I don’t know what you’re going to do. Are you going to bring in a veteran guy to teach these guys because none of them have more than seven starts combined between all of them. So (Tight Ends) Coach (Mike) Pope, the tight ends coach, has got his hands full. I think he’ll do alright, though.”