Perspectives: What Leonard Williams' Work with Richard Seymour Could Mean; Bret Bielema's Continued Flirtation with College Football; and More
The combine is less than a week of way, and things should begin to heat up this week as the NFL gets ready to descend on Indianapolis. And ahead of that, here are a few random thoughts about the state of the Giants.
Why I Feel Good About the Giants' Chances of Re-signing Leonard Williams
I've read the numerous reports about what Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams is allegedly seeking in free agency, but I'm not sure how much truth there is to them.
What I am somewhat confident of is that Williams wants to be a member of the Giants. If there was ever a clue that broadcast as much, it was his recent decision to seek coaching from Richard Seymour, a former defensive lineman for the Patriots and Raiders.
Connecting the dots, Seymour is very familiar with the various schemes and methods the Patriots deploy their defensive linemen having worked with Patrick Graham and senior defensive assistant Bret Bielema (assuming Bielema doesn't bolt for the college ranks).
So with players not allowed to work with coaching staffs until mid- to late April, I can't help but wonder if Williams' choice of Seymour was by design so that he could get a jump start on learning all the things the Giants are going to ask him to do in the defense.
If that is indeed behind Williams' thinking in seeking out Seymour, then good for him for not resting on his laurels and for making sure that whatever he does end up averaging per year is something he earns.
This Bret Bielema Situation Bothers Me...a Lot
It shouldn't. It doesn't affect me after all, as regardless of who is on the coaching staff, I'll be there covering this team.
But there's just something about senior defensive assistant/outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema's continued flirtation with the college ranks that bugs me. It's almost as though he "settled" for the Giants job and is just waiting for a more attractive suitor to come along.
Now don't get me wrong. I understand that every person on the face of the planet has the right to pursue the best opportunity they can find for themselves. But I also believe that once you commit to doing something, you're either in our you're out.
I go back to what head coach Joe Judge said at his introductory press conference about wanting people who are committed to building a winning program, and who don't have ulterior motives.
I'd like to think that applies to every assistant coach hired, yet when these reports surface of Bielema being linked to head coaching jobs at the college level, I can't help but wonder why he even bothered to make the jump to the Giants.
I don't lay claim to knowing where the Giants are in their roster rebuilding process, but I would have to guess that by now, they have at least some kind of idea as to who they want and who they don't.
So what happens if Bielema leaves for a college head coaching job, and his replacement ends up having a different opinion regarding the player personnel and the direction he wants to pursue? Does this mean all the weeks of work done at that position get scrapped?
I also can't quite figure out why Judge is allowing this to happen. I suppose part of it is you don't want to stand in the way of someone getting a promotion--and Bielema getting a head coaching job even at the college level would be a promotion.
But unless I'm missing something, how is this not a distraction for a coaching staff looking to build camaraderie and cohesion so that when the players report in April, they aren't ready to hit the ground running?
Maybe I'm making a big deal over nothing, but I sure wish that these reports of Bielema being linked to various college coaching jobs would stop so that this new staff can move forward.
Upon Further Review
At the very start of the off-season, I was convinced that the Giants would trim four players from their roster: linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin, safety Antoine Bethea and tight end Rhett Ellison.
In looking at this closer, I'm starting to think I have the wrong four players ear-marked for contract termination. I'm beginning to wonder if Ellison is retained but with a pay cut as there's no way he can continue being the highest-paid tight end of the lot.
The reason why I am wondering if Ellison survives the cut is due to Evan Engram's health. Engram, as we all know, had late-season surgery on his foot. While he's expected to be ready for the start of camp (how often does a player who has surgery during the previous season not proclaim that he'd be ready for training camp?) what happens if he has a setback?
The answer is the Giants would be up the creek without a paddle if that were to happen. Yes, Kaden Smith showed progress and promise, but if Engram has any kind of setback, is it a good idea to toss Ellison to the curb and leave the cupboard at tight end bare?
Tackling a Trend
I might be in the minority here, but I hope the Giants do not sign a veteran free agent offensive tackle.
The more I think about this, the more I think it makes sense to draft a franchise left tackle this year from a group that's deep while you're in a position to grab a franchise left tackle, and be done with it.
As for the free-agent money, put that toward the defense. Early indications are that this class of pass rushers isn't as deep as it's been in the past, so use that excess cap space to re-sign Markus Golden, add another pass rusher and then hope that one or both of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines blossom as the third pass rusher.