Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 01-23-2023

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
Now that the dream season has popped, as do most dreams, the Giants are faced with the reality of continuing their team-building work in order to get better - much better? - and present a real threat to the other teams in the suddenly powerful NFC East.

To that end, general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll must address various decisions in order, perhaps starting with the most important, and if that's the case two names must appear at the top of the list - quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.

Neither has a contract now that the season is over, both were instrumental in what the Giants did manage to achieve - a 10-7-1 record despite all odds and expectations - and, well, they MUST be signed, or similar young stars must be signed.

   Yesterday, Schoen was asked about his plans regarding those two anchors. "We'd like Daniel to be here," he said. "Again, as he said yesterday - there's a business side to it. We feel like Daniel played well this season. He's done everything that we've asked him to do.
   "But again, there's a business side to it. We haven't gone down that road yet. We still have our meetings with the staff late in the week, and we'll devise an offseason plan. We haven't had those meetings yet, but we would like to have Daniel back."
   And Barkley?
   "Again, this is a special team to me," Schoen continued. "It was my first year. We'd like to have all the guys back, I really would. But there's a business side to it. There are rules you need to operate under in terms of the salary cap.
   "Saquon is a good player. He's a great teammate. I loved getting to know him this season. He's a guy we would like to have back. It's just, again, we haven't had our end-of-season meetings yet. We're less than 48 hours after that game.
   "Everybody has to step back, take the emotion out of it, evaluate the roster and then operate under the salary cap. How are you going to divvy up? How are we going to create the roster? What are the priority positions, and how are we going to move forward? We would like to have Saquon back if it works out."
    Did he say if it works out?
The thought here is that it had better work out, you know?
   Schoen decided to add to that statement. "Listen, Saquon has done everything we've asked him to do, and he's a good football player. Again, the positional value - we'll get into how we want to build this team and allocate our resources. That's what it comes down to. Again, he's a good football player. He was durable for us this year; he played well. And again, he's a guy that we would like to have back."
   As to Jones, it is possible that Schoen made a little slip of the tongue later in his press conference.
   As follows: "We're happy Daniel's going to be here," Schoen said. "We're happy he's going to be here. Hopefully we can get something done with his reps. That would be the goal - to build a team around him where he can lead us to win a Super Bowl."
   Because Jones is an unrestricted free agent, a clarification was sought regarding the statement that Jones is "going to be here."
   "We're going to have those offseason meetings at the end of the week, and we're going to talk about it," Schoen said. "And then with the resources that we have, we're going to talk to his representatives and hopefully be able to get something done to go off the first question."
   It is more than likely that Jones and Barkley will remain with the Giants, perhaps at the cost of a few other veterans. But graded on levels of importance, there doesn't seem to be another way.

***** ***** ***** *****

I was just working on my top historical quotes and comments from the Giants' storied past and so far here's what I have come up with:

--- After losing to the Washington Redskins, 72-41, (is it still all right to use that nickname since the game was in 1966?) head coach Allie Sherman moaned: "I never thought I'd coach a team that scored 41 points and lost by 31."

--- After New England's Tom Brady was sacked for the hundredth time in Super Bowl 42, inflicting a 17-14 loss that end the Patriots' unbeaten streak at 18 games, the quarterback was prone on the ground next to Giants' defensive end Osi Umenyiora after one of those sacks.

"Hey, Osi," he asked. "Why don't you slow down just a little?

To which Osi responded: "I will, Tom, if you'd just hold the ball a little longer."

--- The Giants had one of the all-time characters on the roster in 1964, their first-round draft pick, running back Joe Don Looney.

During his first training camp, he approached Sherman after practice and said: "Coach, I won't be making practice tomorrow."

Understandably, Sherman asked why.

"Well, I already know the plays," he said. "So it's kind of a waste of time, you know?"

--- The day after the final game of a season in the 1960s, Sherman told defensive tackle Rosey Grier he had a goal for him.

"Lose some weight during the off-season," he told Grier, who was then a 300-pound plus eater when such "body building" wasn't as common as it is today. Rosey agreed.

The following summer, when the team reported for camp, Sherman approached the even-heavier Grier and said: "Rosey, you lied to me, you didn't lose a pound." Rosey stared at him. "I tried, coach, I really did. I even bought that Metrecal (a popular brand of powdered diet drink) and I had two or three cans with every meal." Obviously, the dose was one can - instead of a meal.

--- During a game in 1966 at the Los Angeles Coliseum (site of the first-ever Super Bowl, by the way), a two-year wonder named Tom Kennedy was at the quarterback position.

At one point in what would turn into a rout by the Rams (55-14), Kennedy barked signals, pivoted and smartly threw the ball out of bounds. He was then stunned to see the teams change sides.

When someone told him he had stopped the clock on fourth down, he looked stunned. "Nobody told me it was fourth down," he said. "Am I supposed to know everything?"

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