Thursday, August 2, 2007

Signing Simeon Rice Is The Difference Between The Giants Competing For A Playoff Spot And Finishing 4-12

You can Phuck Filly all you want, but unless you replace Michael Strahan, Philly is going to fuck you up.

Putting aside the fact that the Michael Strahan situation provides great tabloid and talk radio fodder, as a on-field matter, the possibility of losing Strahan is a HUGE deal for the Giants. They sculpted their entire offseason plan around moving Kiwi to linebacker and getting one more good year out of Strahan on the DLine before either allowing Awasom to step in (a bad idea) or grabbing a difference maker in the draft or through free agency. The DLine was supposed to be the one area on defense that, barring injury, the Giants could feel comfortable about. They have two of the top pass rushers in the league if Strahan stays healthy and have some depth because Kiwi could always slide in there for a play or two if necessary. The rest of that defense is borderline terrible. Aaron Ross was a good pick but he's a year or two away from making a difference in a secondary that is DYING for a difference maker. If they had to put a team out there today, the 80 year-old Sam Madison would be the cornerstone of the defensive backfield and the last time he was on the field he got burned twice while pretending to pull a hammy (or maybe that's just how old people run). Their linebacking corp--even with the new-to-the-position Kiwanuka--is easily the worst in the NFC East and arguably all of the NFL. The only reason they were even competitive last year is because they got a ton of pressure off the end with Kiwi, Umenyiora & Strahan. Those guys can take a lot of pressure off the defense and force a ton of bad throws. Without Strahan, Kiwi is back on the D-Line full-time (a position he is not suited for physically), the already weak linebacking corp gets way thin, old and slow, and you have no vocal leader back there. The Giants were not built to lose Strahan this year. They are a 4-5 win team without him (though I don't think they're more than an 8-9 win team with him). Fortunately the winds of fortune have blown their way and Simeon Rice has dropped in their lap.

Say what you will about Simeon Rice, Osi Umenyiora, but when healthy he's still one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. It was only two years ago that he had 14 sacks and he's only 3 years removed from back-to-back pro bowl seasons. He probably only has one or two good years left in him and you'd likely have to rotate him in with Tuck or Joseph in non-pass situations but the alternative is no pass rush from the left side. None. I don't care how big a bitch Osi is going to be about this and how unambiguously gay his comments about how the Giants should not look into replacing Strahan have been, you need a speed rusher on the left side and Simeon Rice can do it. Other than the fact that Rice fills a big need, one thing that Umenyiora is overlooking is the way in which Rice fell to the Giants. He's not your ordinary free agent. He feels betrayed (ironically, so does Strahan except Rice's feelings are justified). He feels like he has something to prove and this is coming from a guy who had an insanely high motor as it was (when he wants to play). You wouldn't be getting Strahan gutting out another season on a gimped foot and creating drama on his 3rd fairwell tour. You'd be getting one of the top DEs of the last decade who is pissed as hell that his team let him go without a handshake or a "thank you for the time." The Giants will be undermanned without a guy flying up the left side of the DLine. They will be a bad team. Simeon Rice wants to play for the Giants and show everyone he can dominate. He is dying to fill this hole and make this team better. Michael Strahan wants more money so that can retire comfortably. Who would you rather have on your team?

The Giants need to look in the mirror and figure out exactly how serious they are about competing this year. They are a deeply flawed team with a gaping hole on the left side of their D-Line playing in a conference where that failing will be exploited CONSTANTLY. There are very few difference makers in this league capable of providing enough pressure to cover up some these flaws. Simeon Rice is one of them. He's available and he's pissed. So what the fuck are you waiting for?

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