The Outsider’s Report: Abrupt Year End Special Edition
By BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Daniel in MI
Nngnnghrgh. Hmm? What? The playoffs are over? Have they played the Superbowl yet? Did we draft anyone? Huh?
They wouldn’t let the TOSRs (The Outsider’s Report) staff watch any of the recent games on the court-ordered vacation, which followed the Giants collapse in SF and our subsequent binge/rampage. Frankly, we were not really able to keep close track of time with the windowless accommodations, the Phenobarbital cocktails, and the constant body cavity searches (at first you hate them, then you get used to them, after a while you come to depend on them). But, we’re out now and feeling much better, thanks. Our parole officer thinks it would be good for us to “keep occupied, get back to work, and for God’s sake put on some clothes when you’re going outside.” In this spirit, we’ve begun to decipher our increasingly frenzied notes which were scrawled in our notebook, then on cocktail napkins, then on the walls of our apartment, and finally on our pets. We’re not sure what to make of the final note, which read, “Sell the house. Sell the kids. Sell all our Junkin. Drop the refs, exterminate them all.”
We’ve made as much sense as we can out of all of it, and so we’ve put together this TOSR: Abrupt Year End Special Edition. As always, while much of what you’ll find in TOSR is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it does score over more pedestrian news media in two important ways: 1) it’s free, and 2) it doesn’t contain any quotes by Warren Sapp.
There were many stories coming out of this season, but clearly the biggest was the stunning emergence of a dominant rookie on the Giants offense. For years, the team has been in search of a threat, someone to strike fear in the hearts of defenders, someone to be the car battery attached to the nipples of the catatonic offense. This year, the Giants brain trust found what they were after. We speak, of course, of fiery phenom Daryl Jones. The rookie’s statistics speak for themselves, 13 games, 8 receptions, 90 yards, and a gaudy 11.3 yards per catch. Add to this his contributions to the running game (1 rush, 4 yards, 4.0 average) and you have the total package. The media has struggled to find enough adjectives for this kid, but they universally use the extremes, words such as: immeasurable, unbelievable, and invisible. But, more impressive is the awed reaction from those who have had to face him, it is as if these opponents have been struck dumb, “Daryl Jones? I really can’t think of anything to say about him,” raved, Idrees Bashir, a DB for the Colts after facing Jones. “Darnell Jones? Did I face him this year? I guess he did ok,” emoted Eagle DB Brian Dawkins. Clearly, the Giants are set on offense for the foreseeable future.
Other rookies also contributed this year, although not all in positive ways. The Giants seem disappointed with rookie TE Jeremy Shockey. This rookie caused problems for the team almost immediately, sleeping in his car and fighting with teammate Brandon Short, and then proceeding to anger teammates and fans with his bombastic, self-aggrandizing antics. Apparently, Shockey did nothing to exceed the team’s expectations, as Giants HC Jim Fassel said, “We expected this kind of impact from him.” QB Kerry Collins noted, “He really energizes this team….” It’s a bad sign when teammates have to resort to euphemisms like “energize.” Worse was the impact Shockey had on other offensive teammates. “He catches a lot of passes, demands a lot of attention from opposing defense…” said Amani Toomer implying that Shockey is a ball hog. TE Coach Mike Pope was frustrated by Shockey’s selfishness and inability to play well with others, saying, “He just wants to win, he’s ultra-competitive.” Fans responded by sarcastically buying his jersey in record numbers to mock him, as if saying, “Look, we are all as good as Shockey is.” Even his own agent said, “He could be the next Anna Kournikova,” indicating that Shockey would never win anything. Off the field, Shockey insulted alternative lifestyles, was late to scheduled radio spots, and attacked young football fans by assaulting them with small blocks of ice. The league collectively voted to send Shockey to Hawaii, in an apparent disciplinary move, to be around some good players in the hopes that he might learn something. Frankly, we can only hope that Shockey learns to blend in better and not make waves, like Ron Dayne did. Maybe next year.
Another big story from this year was the trials and tribulations of OC Sean Payton. The Giants began the year able to move the ball, but failed to finish drives. The lack of scoring hurt, and came to a head following a 3-point performance against Philadelphia. Jim Fassel took the play-calling back. To the public, Jim insisted that Sean was still a vital part of the Giants coaching staff, but behind the scenes, Sean had been emasculated. During one coaches meeting, Sean went to get a beverage. Fassel snapped, “Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for Coodinators only. You think I’m f*cking with you? I am not f*cking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Tim and Wellington. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Payton? You call yourself a play-caller you son of a bitch? The good news is: you’re fired.” It was harsh. Don’t worry, though, our crack sources tell us that Sean is contacting other coaches. Our top notch TOSR connections tell us Payton may be going into broadcasting, he’s said to have contacted Bill Parcells! It’s a sad day for the former OC when he’s sunk to becoming a TV hack like the Tuna!
On defense, the year has been a tremendous success. New Defensive Coordinator Johnnie Lynn took over for John Fox, and kept the basic schemes, but simplified. We caught up with Johnnie Lynn trying to figure out what rule allows a team to run a 2-minute offense outside of the two minute warning, and he explained the philosophy. “We maintained our basic schemes, like our ability to collapse late and only defend for two downs, but I got rid of complicated nuances such as pass rush and turnovers allowing us to do what we do best. Next year, we’ll determine what that is.” Newcomers revitalized the defense, including Tahini Jones Omar Stoutdrinker or something like that, it’s hard to say given the impact they made. Jones excelled at getting into position to make a play, and soon hopes to improve the other finer elements of the game, such as actually tackling someone, shedding blocks, and coverage. Jones’ play was instrumental for sealing victory in the first 49ers game. For his part, Stoutmire really made a big impact taking the free safety position over for Shaun Williams. Omar’s zero interceptions showed his value, and put him just one behind Johnnie Harris, and only two out of a tie for first place on the team. “There is nothing like getting an interception,” Stoutmire said wistfully, “Breaking on the ball, watching it into your hands, tucking it, and dashing toward the opposing endzone to the roar of the fans. I hear it’s great!”
Make no mistake, these strong interception figures owe much to a powerful pass rush. While the DE tandem of Strahan and Holmes racked up 11 and 8 sacks respectively, fellow line mates were right there to pick up the slack, as Lance Legree, Dwight Johnson, Keith Hamilton each approached the opposing quarterbacks menacingly, and next year hope to actually register a sack. Plus, the run stuffing ability of Legree, Ferrara, and Johnson left plenty of opportunities for LBs and especially DBs to make tackles. They also left mobile QBs gasping and fearing for their health. Reached for comment with his mother in a hot tub fully of chunky soup, Donovan McNabb agreed, “I couldn’t catch my breath when we played those guys, I was running so much. I was really afraid I’d pull a hamstring.”
And of course, the Giants special teams continued to show the kind of effort we’ve come to expect from them. This cohesive unit was always there with words of encouragement. P Matt Allen exemplified this, “When we lined up for the potential game winning kick against the 49ers, I just said to Trey, ‘Whatever you do, don’t screw this up. If you even twitch slightly you’ll send it wide. Millions of New Yorkers will hate you, and you’ll cost the team a shot at the Super Bowl. Don’t over-think it, either. And don’t try to aim it. And relax.’” New Special Teams Coach Bruce Read was encouraged by what he saw. “Well, apart from bad snaps, short punts, and missed kicks, I think we really had a great year. It’s hard to look bad compared to the last couple of special teams coaches they had here. These guys actually thought they had good coverage.”
Despite the season ending on a botched play, Matt Allen took it like a man and stood up to be counted for the botched snap play. “It was totally not my fault, and it is unfair to say it is. The snap was off. And the coaches didn’t tell me what to do. And when we talked about it in practice I couldn’t hear because of the planes overhead. And Matt Bryant was yelling at me. And the refs blew the call. And the terrorists were threatening. And the sun was in my eyes. And the dog ate my homework. It’s Trey’s fault.” The newly acquired veteran long snap specialist Trey Junkin handled it like a veteran. “The 4th and 5th bad snaps of my career cost the team a shot at the Super Bowl. Then, after many, many more bad snaps, I came to the Giants, and my 300th and 301st bad snaps did the same thing. I wish I had stayed retired. I wish I had never come here. I wish I had never played football. I wish I had never been born. I wish my parents never met. I wish mankind never evolved from apes. I wish the Earth’s crust never cooled. I wish the Big Bang never happened. Other than that, I feel fine.”
And, so, Giants fans, the season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. In the end, the season is best summed up by an unemployed guy the team met while in San Francisco when he said, “Bummer.”