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Agent: Osi “had a nice, long chat” with Jerry Reese

Osi Umenyiora reportedly had a “nice, long chat” with the GM last week about his future with the NY Giants.  Osi is probably still wondering why he was demoted from starting DE to 3rd down pass rush specialist in the latter half of the season, and frankly I can’t blame him. Now with Bill Sheridan gone, if I were the GM I’d be apologizing my ass off right now to the pro-bowler who was understandably bitter about the starting line change… especially since the Giants secondary seemed to get worse game after game.

Now at the time, we all basically knew what this was about — Osi getting demoted…  lack of pressure/sacks and horrible run stopping that led to an unprecedented level of rush yards off the left side gaps (where Osi was supposed to be) especially against rival teams like the Cowboys and Eagles.

We also knew that early on in the season, Osi walked out of a meeting with former Def. Coordinator Bill Sheridan in what was rumored to be a flare up at their lack of agreement in terms of how the defense was supposed to work – again this was just a rumor though.  Osi and the rest of the team made light of that situation 24 hours later, and all was forgotten…

Until the defensive collapse of 2009 occurred, that is.

Exactly who or what caused it can be debated for eternity, and we’ve already done a fair amount of that analysis. Perhaps what we all can agree on is that the Giants defense was a mess at every level last year, and it was far from being Osi’s fault alone that the D-line did not get enough pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Alford went out for the season, Canty was injured in preseason, Tuck got injured in week 2…. Cofield was a bust.  It’s no wonder there was a lack of pressure.

So the question in my mind remains firm:  Why was Osi singled out and basically blamed for the defensive collapse this past season and demoted?

Check out this glaring snippet from the report:

Whether or not Umenyiora and the team can put their problems aside and move forward is still up in the air. What the organization clearly needs to figure out is how to solve their pass-rushing problem. The Giants’ sack total has been in steady decline over the last two years. During the magical 2007 Super Bowl run, New York led the NFL in sacks, with 53. That total dropped to 42 in 2008 (sixth in NFL) and 32 in 2009 (18th).

Basically, here is what we can deduce given this information:  the scheme change from 2008 – 2009 was catastrophic…. not Osi’s play.

Here’s the rationale:  in 2008 the loss of Michael Strahan was only one small part of the problem  — because in ’08 the Giants still had a very respectable pressure system in place even with the compounded loss of Osi Umenyiora due to injury in preseason.  That means the loss of not one but 2 pro-bowl DE’s in 2008 barely fazed the Giants Defensive scheme — they still got 42 sacks and the top seed in the NFC with a trip to the playoffs. The loss of the rotation caught up to the Giants after they went 11-1 with 4 games left… we all remember they dropped 3 of 4 and lost to the Eagles in the playoffs to make it 4 Losses out of their last 5 games.   But the point is that Spagnolo’s amazing scheme got them to the playoffs regardless.

Flash to 2009 — Bill Sheridan says he “simplifies” and “streamlines” the defensive scheme.  The Giants go 5-0 including a beautiful comeback road win over Dallas to inaugurate their new stadium.  Everyone is happy until they go 3-8 for the rest of the season playing some of the WORST defense I’ve ever seen the Giants play, particularly in the secondary…. but surely Osi’s effort or lack thereof would explain the decision to bench him and further more, the rationale for those 8 losses, right?

Coach Coughlin on why Osi lost his starting position:

“The simple fact of the matter is I felt that we needed to make a change and we did.”

That settles it then — you take one of your best pass rushers out to prove a point that you can simply make a change… not a great message to send to your team.  But did it work? No, it didn’t.

The only time the Giants looked arguably like their old selves was when Osi came in on 3rd downs to ramp up the pass rush…. not to mention his several thrilling strip sacks, forced fumbles and recoveries were some of the most memorable defensive highlights of the entire season for the Giants. Clearly there was a method to the madness between Coughlin and Sheridan to try and give their defense a sense of urgency, but then again… Michael Johnson (the second worst Safety in the NFL) was kept in on every single play. So it seems that this method was inconsistent at best, stupid and short-sighted at worst.

But as we look back now with more clarity on what really happened with the Giants 2009 defense — the truth is that the methodology itself to remove a pro-bowl caliber pass rusher in an ailing and injury-riddled front 7… to remove Osi from a starting role to send a message to the larger team that the Giants were officially in crisis mode — was dangerously and almost unforgivably foolish.

Coughlin on Osi’s return for 2009 and whether he will start:

“I don’t know how you do that.  Our field is a field and the competition is good.  It’s like we tell to everybody:  Go work for it.”

Frankly, after everything you went through last season with the secondary and Bill Sheridan… I don’t know how you do that, coach.

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3 Responses to “Agent: Osi “had a nice, long chat” with Jerry Reese”

  1. Chuck says:

    Does anyone realize that we need osi and if we let him go were not going to realize how much we need him until hes gone! he led the team in sacks with 7…tuck didnt even have that much and we all know tuck is the best D-linemen on this team and he led us in sacks last year so doesnt that point back to sheridans stupid system of dropping linemen into coverage! and when your secondary is horrible your pass rush wont matter if the QB can get the ball to a receiver before the the pass rushers even have a chance

    • its a system as you point out… front 4 can hurry the passer but your lb, cb, and safetys have to shut it down if he gets the ball out.

      if your secondary is a sieve — youre screwed.

  2. John says:

    No one has a secondary like the New York Jets. Damn they’re good!

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