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Let's talk Linebackers

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Let's talk Linebackers

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:52 pm

Do you see LB's as a high priority for the Giants and how should the Giants go about it, free agency or the draft?

This is my early thoughts. FA's

Chase Blackburn is a free agent but will likely be re-signed by the Giants. He's the captain and holds a decent value to our special teams. He also offers LBer versatility in a pinch.
There's likely no team that will offer him a contract that the Giants can't afford to match.

Keith Bulluck was a one-year fill gap who will likely not be asked back due to age, money, and lack of production in 2010.

The Gerris Wilkinson experiment has come to an end.

This leaves:
Goff, Boley, Blackburn, Dillard, and Ingram to be the only ones to remain.

Only three of these players have real nfl experience which leaves the Giants with a small margine for error.

The Giants will sign a big name in free agency and it's a good year to do so.
They'll have to spend a bundle to do so but they can't let that hinder their decision.

There is plenty of names out there but who will best fit the Giants plans? Imo, Two players stand out.
Chad Greenway from Minnesota and Paul Posluszny from Buffalo.
Greenway-Goff-Boley isn't a bad crew by any means. Greenway is a tackling machine and can play both run and pass.

Paul Poszlusny may be more of a middle linebacker but has enough speed to do other things as well.

The only obstacle is whether the Vikings will put the good ol' franchise tag on Greenway, and Poz has already made note that he would like to stay in Buffalo.
(Maybe his ties to Perry Fewell could pursuade him though)

The Giants need to stay away from signing another Jonathan Goff type of player. They simply don't have the depth and speed on the outside to do so.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:43 pm

I think we need to add LBs through free agency.

We need experienced Vets who can step right in and upgrade the position.

I agree that Poz and Greenway top the list, I would add Rocky McIntosh

but there are other options with guys like Barrett Ruud

and other guys who could help like Julian Peterson, Ben Leber, Freddie Keiaho etc

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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Pizan on Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:17 pm

Very Good Idea for a thread Todd. Our biggest area of need is clearly at LB. The lack of plays made at this position were clearly a problem. IMO, its what separates us from being a good defense to a championship defense. Although I like Fewells' variation of the 4-2-5 defense he adopted from Gary Patterson of TCU it shouldn't be played as a base defense.

I'd like to see us completely overhaul the position but that is very unlikely. What is more likely and a saying I'm stealing from Bill Parcells good teams need to churn the bottom of the roster every once in a while. I think LB is a position that definitely gets churned.

Like you said, Todd, the Gerris Wilkinson experiment is done. He offers nothing to this team moving forward.

Blackburn is a good specials player and while I wouldn't mind seeing him return I think we could do better and he could be gone due to some churning.

Bullock is gone. It was a nice 1 year stint but obviously never was going to be much more than that.

Sintim is in the show me something year. He may very well be traded to a 3-4 team for a late draft pick.

Dillard just wont work IMO. He was a bad choice who couldn't even contribute positively on specials.

Tracy makes a nice camp body but I think we should get away from these converted DEs. He has potential as a specials player.

Goff is a cheap option and good backup but not a starter. We will at least take him into training camp.

Boley doesn't make enough plays as a Weakside backer. He wasnt bad but more is expected of him. Of all the backers most likely to stick its probably Boley. He's not a player you depend on to be your best backer. Which has been our mistake. Upgrading him after the 2011 season may be best.

So we are in dire need of a capable Strongside backer and shot caller in the middler.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Pizan on Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:05 am

Out of the Free Agents available Greenway and Poz top the list for all of us I'm sure. The Vikings have an interesting situation with Greenway. I think they should tag him as he is one of the best strongside backers in the game. Rice is a FA as well, who they choose to tag is anyones guess. In Buffalo priority is Poz. I think he'll be resigned or tagged. I don't see a realistic shot at either.

Barrett Ruud, Kevin Burnett, Rocky McIntosh, Ernie Sims, Clint Session would be next choices IMO. A.J. Hawk may be released or traded he could also be an option for us.

Out of the draft I don't see any first round backers I'm absolutely excited about. Two of my favorites are 2nd-3rd round guys outta Oregon and Boston College. Casey Matthews and Mark Herzlich. Two Character guys, who are excellent all around backers. They do it all. I think Bruce Carter may spark our interest because of how well he plays special teams. But he's a WLB and unless we fill the other two holes at backer through FA he won't be drafted.

My Early look at LB next season:

Kevin Burnett(FA), A.J. Hawk(Trade/FA), Mike Boley
Mark Herzlich, Casey Matthews, Doug Hogue (Draft)

Jon Goff may stick if we can't acquire Hawk.

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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:40 am

Pizan - What is your thoughts on Illinois ILB Martez Wilson?
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:37 am

I am not sold on Boley's performance this year to be honest, I was expecting him to make a lot more plays.

I wouldn't mind seeing us add another WLB. Either a decent option in the draft, a solid free agent to compete with Boley or a vet who can play multiple positions.

I know he is coming off injury, but I wouldn't mind seeing Thomas Davis in a Giants uniform next year.

If we want a flexible guy to upgrade depth, then perhaps someone like Thomas Howard could be useful and be in the mix for either OLB spot. Although to be honest, from what I have seen this year I think Boley could be that swing guy providing experienced depth/competition at OLB.

I am still thinking we need ideally 2 veterans LBs at minimum. I know it isn't likely to happen, but I wouldn't mind seeing Reese bring in Greenway, Ruud and McIntosh.

Sure it would mean we would have to compromise with what we can do at other positions and perhaps may see the departure of someone we would like to keep, but I do think we need experienced LBs to overhaul our defense. This is a big area of leadership and direction that we need. Goff's been decent, but we can do a lot better.


Even if Goff is our guy in the middle, what would you think if our LB roster was something like:

SLB: Chad Greenway, Clint Sintim
MLB: Jon Goff, Chase Blackburn/ Phillip Dillard
WLB: Rocky McIntosh, Michael Boley


Last edited by Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Pizan on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:43 am

I think he shouldn't be playing ILB in the pros especially at first. He's an outside LB IMO. He moves well, very athletic. Thats surprising considering he's a converted DE. Very highly recruited coming out of high school. He played outside backer his first two years and thats were he should stay. He could really develop into a good pass rusher on the outside for a team. He struggles a bit shedding blockers. He isn't a wrap up tackler nor an explosive hitter. He's average at reading and reacting nothing real special. Has a very good motor doesn't stop til the whistle blows. I think he'll be a liability against the run. I seen him just get engulfed by blockers.

I don't think he fits well with us hes more of a 3-4 LB but we like converting DEs and pass rushers. I much rather give Sintim another year than draft Wilson in the first or second.

The top end talent is very weak this year at LB but it gets pretty thick in the middle rounds. I think in a normal year Wilson is a 3rd round pick. Because the draft is weak for backers, he'll be taken somewhere in the second.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Pizan on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:46 am

Thomas Davis is too injury prone for my liking. Thomas Howard could be a cheaper option and contribute if needed. I really like Clint Session and Ernie Sims as WLB. If we plan to replace Boley thats the direction i'd like to head.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:54 am

Pizan wrote:Thomas Davis is too injury prone for my liking. Thomas Howard could be a cheaper option and contribute if needed. I really like Clint Session and Ernie Sims as WLB. If we plan to replace Boley thats the direction i'd like to head.

Fair call on Davis.

Howard is very nice, but ideally we need more leadership. Sims is interesting, but I am curious as to why he has effectively washed out at both Detroit and Philly.

I am a fan of Rocky McIntosh at WLB, he would be top of my list as a good value option.

For SLB Greenway is the top option and won't be cheap.

I know it is unlikely but Pozluszny is my preferred MLB if he became available. If there isends up being issues with the Bills resigning him then I think we have a very strong shot with Fewell here. Barrett Ruud could be a decent fallback option. But it depends on whether we invest at MLB.

Demeco Ryans could be an interesting trade option. The Texans are moving to a 3-4 and Ryans isn't an ideal fit for that scheme at ILB.


Last edited by Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:56 am

Pizan wrote:I think he shouldn't be playing ILB in the pros especially at first. He's an outside LB IMO. He moves well, very athletic. Thats surprising considering he's a converted DE. Very highly recruited coming out of high school. He played outside backer his first two years and thats were he should stay. He could really develop into a good pass rusher on the outside for a team. He struggles a bit shedding blockers. He isn't a wrap up tackler nor an explosive hitter. He's average at reading and reacting nothing real special. Has a very good motor doesn't stop til the whistle blows. I think he'll be a liability against the run. I seen him just get engulfed by blockers.

I don't think he fits well with us hes more of a 3-4 LB but we like converting DEs and pass rushers. I much rather give Sintim another year than draft Wilson in the first or second.

The top end talent is very weak this year at LB but it gets pretty thick in the middle rounds. I think in a normal year Wilson is a 3rd round pick. Because the draft is weak for backers, he'll be taken somewhere in the second.

I don't think we will have any help at LB in the draft.

There are plenty of 3-4 options but other than that there are only a couple of guys I like for our schemes (Greg Jones and Kelvin Shappard). Other than that with Fewell's schemes I think the guys will be backup/developmental type guys.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:03 am

I know the Skins Rocky McIntosh isn't an ideal fit as a 3-4 ILB, but could he be a decent option at MLB in Fewell's scheme?
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:11 am

The more I think on it, the more I believe bringing in either Thomas Howard or Ernie Sims is the kind of move Reese is likely going to try and do if he wants to upgrade WLB.

with a solid(?) starter at WLB, Reese isn't going to break the bank to upgrade the spot and both Howard and Sims have experience, but also questions (and thus will come a little cheaper). The Giants give either a fresh start with a genuine chance to win a starting spot and either has decent coverage skills.

Also competition is exactly the type of thing that both Coughlin and Reese prefer.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:39 am

Big_Pete wrote:SLB: Chad Greenway, Clint Sintim
MLB: Jon Goff, Chase Blackburn/ Phillip Dillard
WLB: Rocky McIntosh, Michael Boley

This would make a pretty nice group to work with.
However, I think that Boley would be cut before taking on a back-up role. He's paid too much money from the organization for them to justify keeping him at such high value. Plus, I doubt that the Giants would cut their best lb'er.

Something that I forgot to mention in the original post is that I think the Giants will bring Kiwanuka back on a one year deal, unless he is signed elsewhere.
He could be a big help as to what direction and role the Giants see fit moving forward.
I think it's easy to forget his value as such a versatile player at either positions. LB,DE,DT
With the emergence of Pierre-Paul, Kiwi would be used less on the front line perhaps.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:42 pm

56 Crazed Dogs wrote:
Big_Pete wrote:SLB: Chad Greenway, Clint Sintim
MLB: Jon Goff, Chase Blackburn/ Phillip Dillard
WLB: Rocky McIntosh, Michael Boley

This would make a pretty nice group to work with.
However, I think that Boley would be cut before taking on a back-up role. He's paid too much money from the organization for them to justify keeping him at such high value. Plus, I doubt that the Giants would cut their best lb'er.

Something that I forgot to mention in the original post is that I think the Giants will bring Kiwanuka back on a one year deal, unless he is signed elsewhere.
He could be a big help as to what direction and role the Giants see fit moving forward.
I think it's easy to forget his value as such a versatile player at either positions. LB,DE,DT
With the emergence of Pierre-Paul, Kiwi would be used less on the front line perhaps.

Boley isn't that expensive, his total cap number this year is around $4.5 mil. I think someone like Howard or Sims is more likely. It wouldn't be an automatic demotion, the Giants would just add Howard (likely cheaply) and may the best man win in training camp; the other guy is the primary backup at both OLB spots. Lets remember we also need to injury-proof our LBs to some extent. There is little point in having two athletic OLBs and then average guys behind.

The other factor is that if it was McIntosh he could also be in the mix at MLB as well as WLB.

I also think Kiwi will be back on a 1 year deal, but it should impact at LB too much. We need more speed and athleticism at LB. Kiwi is ok in the big formations, but playing a DE at LB isn't the solution.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Pizan on Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:28 pm

Big_Pete wrote:I know the Skins Rocky McIntosh isn't an ideal fit as a 3-4 ILB, but could he be a decent option at MLB in Fewell's scheme?

Definitely. Rocky is one of the most versatile LBs available in FA this year. He could play any of the LB positions. He isn't the greatest defending the pass but is an effective blitzer. He seems slower and more stiff in recent years. I'm not sure if its the knee injuries catching up with him (tore his ACL and MCL twice, 3 surgeries) or if he just added weight for the 3-4 defense to help take on blockers and it slowed him down. Thats the only thing that worries me if he plays in the middle, if he still has the speed to play sideline to sideline.

Depending on the contract really. I wouldn't sign him long term I think he has maybe 2-3 good years left.

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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:12 am

Pizan wrote:
Big_Pete wrote:I know the Skins Rocky McIntosh isn't an ideal fit as a 3-4 ILB, but could he be a decent option at MLB in Fewell's scheme?

Definitely. Rocky is one of the most versatile LBs available in FA this year. He could play any of the LB positions. He isn't the greatest defending the pass but is an effective blitzer. He seems slower and more stiff in recent years. I'm not sure if its the knee injuries catching up with him (tore his ACL and MCL twice, 3 surgeries) or if he just added weight for the 3-4 defense to help take on blockers and it slowed him down. Thats the only thing that worries me if he plays in the middle, if he still has the speed to play sideline to sideline.

Depending on the contract really. I wouldn't sign him long term I think he has maybe 2-3 good years left.


That is along the lines of what I was thinking. I wouldn't be surprised if he bulked up a little.

I am thinking McIntosh could be a good value pickup
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:51 pm

There are one LB that I really think would be a good fit for the Giants in the draft, and that is Texas A&M OLB Von Miller.

I think Miller could be an excellent fit at SLB for us and he is the only LB I really like in the opening round for NYG.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Pizan on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:27 pm

Theres no chance in hell we get Miller. We'll have to trade waaay up.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:36 pm

Pizan wrote:Theres no chance in hell we get Miller. We'll have to trade waaay up.

You are very likely correct, which pretty much leaves on free agency.
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Re: Let's talk Linebackers

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