Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 12-03-14

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
It is interesting to remember that on Jan. 6, 2004, when the Giants hired Tom Coughlin as their head coach, he delivered a rousing, jump-to-your-feet acceptance speech.

Among the most stirring statements concerned injuries. He promised to eliminate them, calling injuries "a cancer in the locker room," and since the "pre-Tom" Giants were uncommonly beset by them, it was a sore point with the fans and ownership.

Well, just the other day the Giants placed five more players in Injured Reserve, bringing to 20 the total of disabled athletes for this 2014 season. It is the most in team history and, as Coughlin said the other day, the most he has ever heard of during his career(s) with Jacksonville and the Giants.

For the record, and alphabetically, those who are on that list are:

Cornerback Prince Amukamara, defensive end Robert Ayers Jr., middle linebacker Jon Beason, running back Michael Cox, wide receiver Victor Cruz, wide receiver Marcus Harris, running back Peyton Hillis, cornerback Travis Howard, wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, linebacker Terrell Manning, cornerback Trumaine McBride, guard Geoff Schwartz, guard Adam Snyder, safety Cooper Taylor, cornerback Walter Thurmond III and running back David Wilson.

Wednesday five of them were placed in Injured Reserve, an almost unheard-of one-day total. They were Kiwanuka, Schwartz, Snyder, Ayers and Manning.

Of that horrific list, Wilson is out, as they say, forever. He suffered a serious neck injury and the next hit he takes could render him paralyzed for life. He was, as well, the team's No. 1 draft pick in 2012.

It would seem that the campaign to banish injuries on the roster hasn't worked exactly as planned, and the result is that it leaves far too many gaps and flaws in the starting lineup(s).

For instance, the defensive ends who will likely start Sunday in Nashville, Tn., are Damontre Moore and Jason Pierre-Paul, with the first (and only) replacement being Kerry Wynn. The guards may well be John Jerry and rookie Weston Richburg. Mark Herzlich is the backup for strongside and middle linebacker. Why? Because he's all the Giants have at those positions.

The question of the huge number of injuries was broached to Coughlin Wednesday, and he responded thusly: "I won't think anybody is interested in surgical repairs. I just put that one way off to the side. I understand what you're asking, but you're asking me if it's a losing mentality and I'm saying to you that I don't see it [that way]. I don't see that [attitude] on this team. I don't."

And when he's finished whistling past the graveyard, he can get about the business of trying to win another game before this nightmare season turns into a 3-13 final record. After the Titans, a team they should beat (just like Jacksonville) the Giants face Washington, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Playing the way they did against the Jaguars, squandering a 21-0 lead that was 21-3 at halftime, committing enough turnovers for three or four games, how can any of the remaining four games be confidently placed in the win column?

Some of you might have noticed that Tuesday's sermon, which dealt in a large part on the identity of a possible Coughlin replacement, included an assistant coach named Ken Whisenhunt. He is the head coach of the Titans, and with everything on this distracted mind, he came up as a candidate for the job. He isn't.

But a new theory has surfaced and it might hold some water. The Giants have way too much respect for Coughlin to simply fire him. They will give him the chance to resign, if that's what they decide, and when a new head coach comes in he has the choice of retaining or replacing the entire staff. But if the new head coach is offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, he won't have to replace himself. An assistant might be able to handle the details of the offense, and if McAdoo decides that it's time for Perry Fewell to stop being the defensive coordinator, that would be his decision.

Traditionally, a new head coach comes in with a new general manager, and there has been enough talk about Jerry Reese not being retained to follow that pattern. As to the new (if it happens) defensive coordinator, wouldn't Rex Ryan be a good idea? There is almost no way he can be retained by the Jets, although owner Woody Johnson (the JPP of owners) might not see anything wrong with another year of Rex.

There is also a rumor that if (or when) Ryan is fired, there will be a television contract waiting for him (probably with ESPN) worth a few million bucks - which would make him he newest Jon Gruden, one must assume.

EXTRA POINTS - The Giants added guard Eric Herman, defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton and linebacker James Davidson to the active roster from the practice squad. ... Most of the legal gambling parlors are mixed between making the Giants-Titans a pick 'em or the Giants favored by a single point. ... One might suggest that if the Giants lose their next three games, the starting quarterback for the finale against the Eagles might be young Ryan Nassib. ... Eli Manning just isn't worth sacrificing for no apparent reason.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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