Random notes around the NFCE: The Giants’ vastly different offense from ’08 to ’11, and re-thinking the decision to franchise Fred Davis

Happy 4th of July all. For the occasion, let’s unveil the new Blogging the bEast team logos for 2012.

Derrick Ward retired.  Ward sort of represents the drastic change the Giants offense has gone through over the last 4 years.  In 2008, the Giants had 3 running backs averaging over 5 yards per carry. Two of them (Ward and Brandon Jacobs) had over 1000 yards.

2008 Giants Rushes Yards YPC
Derrick Ward 182 1025 5.6
Brandon Jacobs 219 1089 5
Ahmad Bradshaw 67 355 5.3

Jacobs was playing at about 260 and Ward at about 240.  The Giants would get a lead and then just bludgeon you to death.  You’d get a heavy dose of the two big guys, and then mix in the speedy pre-foot-issue Bradshaw.  The OL was in its prime, and the Giants led the league in rushing yards per game, yards per carry, and rushes of over 20 yards.  In 2011, they were dead last in all three of those categories. But obviously, they throw the ball a little better these days.

Continued after the jump…

Adam Schefter basically came out and said that Jeffery Lurie will never fire Andy Andy Reid.  It wasn’t as if it was a full column… just a one of many answers in a casual Q&A. The actual quote:

My belief is that Reid will stay on in that job as long as he wants. Jeffrey Lurie will not fire him. When the time comes for Reid to go, whenever that is, it will be because he opts to go.

As my buddy Brian Solomon points out, that assertion is totally false if you take Schefter’s words literally.

Bad safety play in the NFL has become an epidemic.  As a result, we’re seeing teams reach for safeties in the draft.  The Bucs reached for Mark Barron at 7th overall this year, the Vikings probably reached for Harrison Smith at the back end of the 1st round, and in Philly, Jaiquawn Jarrett felt like a reach in the 2nd round when the Eagles picked him last year, and it doesn’t appear that he’ll be beating out Kurt Coleman for the starting job anytime soon.

An argument could be made that all four NFCE teams have a weakness in at least one of their starting safeties, some more so than others.

I’m not a huge fan of looking too far ahead at the next draft when it’s only July, but a good read is a good read, and so I direct you to my buddy Shawn’s post at Blogging the Boys on the top safeties in the 2013 class, which should be far better than the one we just saw in 2012.  It has a focus on the Cowboys, but is relevant to the fans of all the NFCE teams.

Jason LaConfora (now of CBS, formerly of NFL.com) listed all the franchised players and opined on their likelihood of getting a long-term deal done. All four of the NFCE teams used their franchise tag this year.  The Eagles wound up locking down DeSean Jackson long term and the Giants got a deal done with punter Steve Weatherford, so this really only applies to the Cowboys (Anthony Spencer) and the Redskins (Fred Davis).  I’m kind of stunned at what La Canfora wrote about Fred Davis:

Some were surprised the Redskins even franchised the tight end at all, given his suspension for the final four games for failed drug tests. They figured the team could let him hit the market, with no one willing to guarantee much money to a player who will be suspended for a season if he fails another test, and then Washington could bring him back for a few million bucks.

The Redskins didn’t want to take that chance … but doing anything other than letting Davis play out 2012 on and off the field would be crazy. Davis quickly signed his franchise tag and, with his latest saga involving a fairly bizarre civil case, he seems to know as well as anyone that this franchise tag is as good as he’s going to do right now.

Odds on a new deal: Weak

La Canfora has some sources around the league.  I wonder who he meant when he said “some were surprised the Redskins even franchised the tight end at all.”  I would assume those people didn’t happen to notice that Fred Davis was the Redskins’ best player on offense last season.

Prior to this season, the NFL record for receiving yards in a single single for a TE was 1290, by Kellen Winslow Sr.  Both Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski broke that record this season, and are clearly the two best TE receiving threats in the NFL:

Player Rec Yards TD
Rob Gronkowski 90 1327 17
Jimmy Graham 99 1310 11

But after that, Davis is right in that mix among the best receiving TE’s in my opinion.  Before he got suspended, he was on pace to top 1000 yards.  Here are his 2011 numbers, and how they project over a 16 game season:

Player Rec Yards TD
Fred Davis 59 796 3
Fred Davis projected over 16 games 79 1061 4

Along with Graham and Gronkowski, if Davis had just laid off the weed and kept up his pace over the first 12 games, he would have been just one of three TE’s to top 1000 yards.  That’s especially impressive considering the Skins’ QB situation.  Here were the other top TE’s in the game in 2011, noting that the majority of these guys played with some pretty good QB’s:

Player Rec Yards TD
Jason Witten 79 942 5
Aaron Hernandez 79 910 7
Tony Gonzalez 80 875 7
Dustin Keller 65 815 5
Brent Celek 62 811 5
Vernon Davis 67 792 6
Antonio Gates 64 778 7
Brandon Pettigrew 83 777 5
Jermichael Finley 55 767 8
Kellen Winslow 75 763 2

The thinking that the Redskins could have let him test the market, have him find nothing in the way of big money, and re-sign him for a couple million bucks is nuts.  It was a no-brainer to franchise Davis.  He wouldn’t have lasted 2 days on the open market without some team blowing him away with a bigtime offer.

Going forward, the Skins have a few options:

  • They can let him play out 2012, and if he proves to continue to be a bonehead, then you let him walk.
  • If he plays well, you can simply tag him again.  His tag number was $5.446 million in 2012.  That’s a bargain.  Under the 120 percent rule, his tag number would jump to roughly $6.5 million if you tag him again in 2013.
  • Orrrrr… the Redskins might be smart to lock him up long-term now while his stock is low.  They just need to be sure to add a “jackass clause.”

But make no mistake: The guy can play.

11 Comments

  1. Mustapha says:

    Im a cowboys fan but id love if Davis lined up on the other side of Witten every play. We would be unstoppable that guy is nice.

  2. Aliana says:

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  3. Free Plax says:

    I likes the new Giants team logo

  4. Tracer Bullet says:

    Always fun to see DeSean scoring on Dallas.

  5. Ralf E. Chubbs says:

    nice Team Logos.

  6. Trueblue63 says:

    Has any team turned over so many key players going from Super Bowl to Super Bowl?

    Seubert – Boothe
    O’Hara – Baas
    Boss – Ballard
    Strahan – Tuck
    Osi – JPP
    Whole new LB Corp
    Whole new WR Corp
    Almost all new DBs (CWebb and Ross)

  7. NYG_slater says:

    ahh dammit I miss that running game from the 08 giants….was so nice to have that type of trump card at your disposal. I still think about the Ravens game from that year. we broke 200 yards rushing on the ravens (the “elite” defense at the time) and had something ridiculous like 9 yards per carry. Remember ray lewis and Ngata looking completely stunned in disbelief. I really thought that giants team was going to repeat as SB champions. fucking plax.

    1. ArthuroMolenda says:

      Football Outsiders debunked that “Plax cost us a repeat” myth in a pretty convincing fashion in their 2009 Almanac.

      1. NYG_slater says:

        you may be convinced, I’m not. Plax was our only guy on the roster to stretch the field. Steve smith, Toomer, Kevin boss couldnt even dream to do that. Without plax, teams put 8-9 in the box. Our run game sputtered, play-action pass halted, we couldn’t do shit.

        But if you want to argue, fine. Maybe plax didnt cost us a repeat, you can argue we wouldnt have won with him anyway, but without him, we had no shot in hell.

        1. wilddre22 says:

          “No shot in hell” I see what you did there. 😀

          Fuck what FO said. if you watched the games pre Plax and post Plax that season, you’ll see what was obvious – Plax affected that team big time. Morale, focus, everything. from AP having to deal with his part of that night’s event, to the offense basically drawing plays in the dirt on the fly because there number one option was pulling bullet fragments out of his leg, that team was never the same once that shot rang out. and the only change in the equation – Plax.

    2. wilddre22 says:

      i remember one run where Big Boy was running up the sideline, and Ed Reed made the mistake of trying to tackle him high. Put his arms around Jacobs neck and – basically flew around his neck like a hoola hoop! as Big Boy shed the tackle and kept going. ahh, memories.

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