Mar 162004
The Outsider’s Report: Special Off-Season Regime Change Edition

By Contributor Daniel in MI

Well, it’s another off-season, and with it has come regime change at Giants Stadium. For those of us in the pseudo media, it’s been time to turn your head and Coughlin. For media with a more traditional approach involving techniques like interviewing or research, this type of turnover can be problematic as the contacts you had are gone. Luckily, our more holistic, post-modern, pre-future, traction/friction approach doesn’t involve “note-taking” or “access” or “information.” But rest assured that although much of The Outsider’s Report (TOSR) may be apocryphal, if not wildly inaccurate, it does score over the pedestrian news media in two important ways: 1) it’s free; and 2) it works out only with free weights not wimpy machines.

The big score for any reporter has been new Head Coach Tom Coughlin. He’s spoken to the media almost as little as he’s spoken to the players. Being as well known as TOSR is, we were allotted 0 minutes. But, being resourceful, that doesn’t stop us from quoting him or at least putting down something we think he would have said, which is as close as most newspapers come anyway.

When we didn’t meet with him, we pretended to ask him about the key to turning the Giants team around. He said, “The key to winning is just one thing: running the football and stopping the run. And winning the turnover battle. And not making mistakes. And being tough And being strong. And discipline. And getting the right guys. And conditioning. And desire. And some other stuff. And focusing on that one thing.”

Having clarified his philosophy, we asked him about rumors that some players might not want to come play for a known disciplinarian. He scoffed, “I ask only that players are not afraid to work, and that they are 100% focused on winning. Anyone like that will be fine – just come to work ready to pay attention in meetings. Ready to sit up straight and put your feet on the floor. Ready to tuck in your shirts and pull up your socks. Ready to ensure that when you tie your cleats, you double not them, and the loops are exactly the same size. Ready to make sure the tooth indentations in your mouth guard are uniform in depth. Ready to alphabetize your equipment in your locker. I like to check that. Sometimes, after I leave at night, I return to the stadium because I forget if I checked and I want to be sure. Follow those rules, and 132,331 others I’ve outlined in this five volume Team Preparation Manual I created in my year off (and please note that rule 17,334 is keep the Manual in it’s official hand-knitted manual cozy) and we’ll get along fine. And, if it doesn’t distract from these rules, we’ll win.” Coach Coughlin – disciplinarian, and likely undiagnosed Obsessive-Compulsive.

Apart from the HC position, there is going to be a lot of change on the roster this year. For one thing, the LBs are all going to be new. Perhaps the biggest departure was MLB Mike Barrow. We caught up with GM Ernie Accorsi to ask him about letting one of his most successful FA pickups go. “It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make this week. We really wanted to keep him, but with the salary cap, you just can’t keep a guy whose salary prohibits you from doing something you really want to do: like get another middle linebacker. Which reminds me of everything everyone else ever said. Back when I was…” At that point we hit him with a lamp and fled. Barrow himself was surprised, but his faith appeared to be critical to getting through this, “They said they really wanted me back at 60% discount, and I know that the Lord will put me where he wants me. But, I’m sure that the Lord didn’t want me to take no 60% pay cut. The Lord had more like 10% in mind, with some compensatory roster bonus. Amen.”

The players who are staying with the Giants are extremely excited about the new coaching staff and new systems. We caught up with QB Kerry Collins to get his take on the new staff and new offense. “I’m really excited about it,” Kerry said somberly. “I don’t know what it is, or how it will work, but I’m sure it will be an exciting challenge.” We asked him how the coaches explained it. “Well, they haven’t, because I haven’t actually spoken with them. From what I read, we’re going to run, and play action, and I think I heard something about rolling me out. Why, what are you hearing? Did they say anything to you? If you see them in the cafeteria, pass them this note. Tell them I like them, but only if they like me first. Ask them to check a box on the note to say if they like me or not. Ohmigod!”

Perhaps they haven’t had time to talk because the Giants staff have been busying using FA to try and upgrade the defense, signing linebackers Carlos Emmons and Barrett Green. However, some of the most important moves made so far involve the offensive line, where the Giants have added much needed talent by blockbuster signings like Shaun O’Hara and Barry Stokes. Our sources in the league can’t stop talking about these two. Here’s just a sampling of what they said. One NFC East Personnel Director raved, “JJ Stokes! The Giants got him?! Oh, Barry Stokes. Whew.” Another exclaimed, “They’re NFL players? Both of them? Are you sure?” And still another gushed, “Shaun O’Hara, Shaun O’Hara. Is he that equipment guy in Chicago? No? Hot Lips’ first husband on M*A*S*H? No? Then I have no clue who you’re talking about.” But those enthusiastic endorsements are nothing to the fans’ collective, “Oh. Ok.”

For his part, Stokes was stoked to be here. “I’m very excited to be here. And, as is apparently required as per the First Media Meeting Manual Coach Coughlin gave me, I will say the following: Ahem, ‘I am not afraid of hard work. I just want to win. I am sure that this coaching staff is committed to winning and that is part of the reason I chose to come here. Now stop talking and end the press conference.’ Oh, I guess I wasn’t supposed to say that last part.”

Lastly, we were lucky enough to corner our new Defensive Coordinator Tim Lewis, who came to us straight off a very successful termination with the Steelers. We asked about the possibility fans are wondering about: moving to the 3-4 defense. “We’re not going to go to a 3-4. We’re going to play a 4-3, but we’re going to do it in such a way that we have 3 guys up front, and they’ll be backed up by 4 guys. We’ll switch it around, and keep the defense guessing, give them a lot of looks. But, we’re definitely a 4-3 except for how we align our players and assign responsibilities on the defense.”

So, there you have it. We’re only into March, and already you can feel the excitement building. The team is putting the disappointment of last year’s 4-12 season behind them, and preparing for another one. And, we’d will finish as per Coach Coughlin’s Manual For Media by saying, “the Giants are going to focus on winning, and as long as they want to work hard everything will be fine. This is the best of all possible worlds.”

Stay tuned for our special “Blown Draft” edition!

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