A Month of Fundays

A New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Rangers and other stuff blog.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Giants Draft: Choosing Into the Strength of a Draft

Every year drafts are deep and strong across various positions.  Unless it's illusory like the 2003 DT class, or, perhaps this year's QB class, it's a great idea to draft into the strength of the draft.   When there is real depth you can get long term starters in and outside of the first round of the draft.   Let's take the 1996 WR class for example. Keyshawn, Terry Glenn, Marvin Harrison and Eddie Kennison were first rounders, Amani Toomer, Alex Van Dyke, Mushin Muhhamed and Bobby Engram were second rounders.   TO was a third rounder,  and Joe Horn was a 5th rounder, with lots of solid WR's in between.  So there was WR value all over that draft.

The Giants drafted into that strength and took Amani Toomer.  They had blown their first round pick on Cedric Jones, and Amani saved that draft.

They drafted into strength when they took Pugh last year, too.   Part of the reason this works so well, is they are almost never stacked correctly when they are all at least "good."  So, if you have the advantage of know what works for you,  you can get a long term starter, like Toomer or Pugh.

Now I'll give you two examples of why you shouldn't draft into the limits of a draft.   In 1998, because of injuries to Ike Hilliard and Toomer, the Giants needed more WR's.   In fact they wanted at least two.  So with their pick they took Joe Jurevicius, and then feeling that the WR's were running out, they traded up for Brian Alford, who earned the nickname 50/50 in practice because those were his chances of catching anything thrown to him.

In 2002, after trading up one spot for Jeremy Shockey, the Giants traded back into the third round and took OT Jeff Hatch, because they believed he was the last Left Tackle in the draft.   And he was a disaster.

So when there is true depth you will really see it all over, and when there is true limitation, you will see it in the form of teams grabbing at the illusory depth and taking guys who can't play at positions of need like Brian Alford and Jeff Hatch.

Thus unless you're scouts are really good at beating needed talent out of the bushes, it's best to draft into the strength of drafts and not reach into a drafts weakness with a projection.

I'll talk tomorrow about where I see the strength in this year's draft.

Knicks: Jax Hopes Carmelo Will Stay for Less

Phil spoke again today.   The biggest news was that he and Carmelo had talked about Carmelo staying for less so that Phil could build around him.   Other stars with rings have done it, and Action Jackson said that's the only way he could keep Melo.  And he said the Knicks would go forward either way.

He also said picking the coach could take some time and that he's looking for a leader.    Further he said he was still filling out the front office and acknowledged the hiring of Gaines.    Personally I thought they'd name a coach quickly. But, since they don't have any games on the horizon, this is fine.  Ron Harper is coming in to meet about a coaching position -- and man was that guy great before he blew out his knee.

How refreshing is Phil's openness?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rangers Re-Take Series Lead

Wow, were the refs ever awful tonight.    And really does NHL feel Goon Central is a better brand for them than the Rangers?   Imbeciles.   Anyway,  Stepan scored in the first from MSL and Nash, then MSL scored and we had another 2 goal lead.  Just like Sunday they allowed the Flyers back in the game.  But unlike Sunday, Dan Girardi scored the games third goal in second from Richards and Hags.   Then things got out of hand as the refs did everything in there power to try to get Philly back into it.   Suspensions should be forthcoming.  Oh and those great Flyer fans actually cheered when Dan Carcillo went down after taking a slap shot to the throat.   He was later cheap shotted by Reid, but got the best of both the Flyer and their sickening fans (and I know it's not all of them), when he scored the Rangers fourth goal of the night in the third, from Boyle.   Huge win.  Hank stopped all but 1 of 32 Flyer shots and a terrific performance.   Let's take game 4.  LGR!

Tanaka Tames The Sox

Masahiro Tanaka was pretty dominant, except to two hitters in the fourth inning, both misfits of science who homered back to back.   But those two homers were all he gave up as he cruised through 7.1 striking out 7 and scattering 7 hits.   He was once again getting squeezed once a bit.   Also, we have to remember that McCann is learning the AL, two, and you can't just keep calling fastballs with a 4-0 which is what the Yanks had when Tanaka had the hiccup.  His fastball topped out at 95 tonight, which probably means it was warmer than last week when his velo was down.  Though he did change speeds again.  

Ellsbury, lead off the game with a fan interference triple which should have been an inside the parker, and Jeter singled him home, the Yanks never relinquished the lead or really even came close to doing so.   Everyone but Solarte was hitting tonight, and Beltran added another bomb as the Yanks scored 9.

Dellin Betances pitched the final 1.2 and gave up his first run of the season.  His ERA is now .93.   And Girardi still won't give him more work.  

Yanks take the opener 9-3.  Tanaka get his 3rd win and his first ever at Fenway.   Let's see if Pineda can once again hold serve tomorrow.   Go Yanks!

Yanks: Vidal Nuno "Officially" Named #5 Starter

The Yanks have "officially" named Vidal Nuno their #5 starter.    While that is fine and it's probably at least official for this next go round, I'd prefer that they not make that pronouncement.   He should be on a start to start leash and they should be hoping to upgrade from the system.  With Robertson back they should send Phelps down to the minors to stretch back out.   Oh well.  It's almost Tanaka Time, so enjoy!

Surgery Recommended for Nova

The Yanks say the Nova met with doctors and had an MRI.  The diagnosis of a partially torn UCL was confirmed and surgery has been recommended.    So that will probably put him out for the year.  The Yankees will probably mix and match for awhile, and then could make a trade.  What I'd prefer they do is mix and match and try to get Bryan Mitchell ready to step into the rotation in a month or two.   Mitchell pitches for Trenton tonight.

Giants Should Extend Prince Amukamara

The Giants should extend Prince Amukamara even if Will Hill wins his appeal.  But since he probably won't it's even more important to extend Prince.   He's been playing well for the past few years, regardless of what broadcasters and print morons have sometimes said.   He's a physical run force corner who has a great burst and covers well.  He doesn't get a lot of turnovers.  So who does he remind you of that was a Giant CB for two championships?  Right, he's Mark Collins Mark II.   So the reason they should especially do it now, with Will Hill's future up in the air, is that it would lock down both corner spots for the foreseeable, and allow the Giants to use a pick this year and maybe next on Safeties.   So, because we are losing a playmaker in Hill,  we should establish cost certainty at corner, so we can spend more picks looking for Hill's replacement.   If we're lucky, it's Cooper Taylor.

Rangers Playoffs Tonight

The Rangers have been road warriors all year, and tonight they have to do it again.   Due to their lack of urgency after their second goal on Sunday, they have lost home ice and are in danger  of falling behind.   Can't happen.  Hank needs to be elite, the D has to be sharp and the shooters have to stop aiming at the Flyer Goalie.   Let's go, Rangers!

Giants Stuff

Will Hill, one of the best young players on the Giants looks like he's headed for another suspension.  Apparently, he'll appeal, but the Giants just can't count on this guy, which is sad both ways, because he really is one of their best players.

In other, better Giants news, JPP says he's back down to 270 and Justin Pugh says he gained 10 pounds which should put him at 314 or 315.   For now.   JPP getting his weight back to where it was was huge.    He's had a gut during each of the last two years, and that isn't good weight to carry around if you're anyone, let alone a pro athlete.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Giants Draft: BPA?

BPA stands for Best Player Available.   This is the way the Giants have long said they draft.   Thus, when Prince Amukamara fell a few years ago, they had to take him because he was better than anyone else in their window.   BPA is frustrating to pundits who can only construct mock drafts projecting needs that the pundit may be projecting on the team.   For years and years, before he stopped doing his fun draft book, Mel Kiper Jr. would melt down because the Giants didn't take a linebacker high.    The one time they did, it was Sintim,   Eek.    And of course there was NO WAY Clint Sintim was the BPA when they were making their first round pick that year.  Max Unger, who's been to pro bowls probably was.

Anyway, this also may bring up the flaw in BPA.  As we've discussed, the Giants play of 4-3 defense. Sintim was a 3-4 LB who did not fit it.  Now, it's conceivable that he was the BPA on their board -- but the fact is, Clint Sintim should never have even been on the Giants board.  Their 2010 board should have existed as if he didn't.

Here's why: each good NFL team that wins titles has an identity; a formula by which they have won.   Thus any team like that -- if they are going to draft "BPA" -- should really only mean they will draft BPA for them, or more accurately Best Fit.   So they should only draft more the of the types of the players they've been winning with, and not worry about drafting anything else.   Bad teams should try to find players they can win with, but the winning programs need to stick with their scripts.

Years ago, Belichick boasted about how the Pats board had relatively few players on it and once they were done with those players,  they just trade their remaining picks.   That's a pretty good way to do, but I think their draft results are not so great, thus, their player definitions or talent recognition needs refinement.   I frankly think they sometimes go for players to the exclusion of athletes, and I think that's a big reason why we beat them in 42 and 46.  We had a better player model.

Still, there is wisdom in the Wesleyan Grad's thought process.  You don't need players who don't fit your scheme or success formula -- so why waste any more time scouting them, interviewing them or flying them around if they are not a fit.

I think the Giants board has been a little too big lately considering picks like Sintim, Beckum and Tracy, who all represented value where we we should not have been shopping.  Sintim and Tracy were 3-4 LB's, and Beckum was an HBack.   We've never won a Super Bowl where an HBack has played a valuable role in leading up to it or winning it.   Thus, they shouldn't even be on our board.  But all of them were.

What the Giants should spend some time doing this week if they haven't already, is get all of the non-Giant type players off of their board.  Thus they should remove all the 3-4 LB's, and all the HBacks for starters.   Assuming they'll use the same kind of OL play that they've won with, they'd also dump the guards who can't pull, and since they crave versatility they should dump the OL's who are only one thing.

Anyway, the only reason why I think the Giants board might be too big is because they've made some picks that just didn't fit the moment they were drafted.   And thus the BPA pick was as bad as a reach for need.  

The Giants need to double check this stuff.

Giants Begin Offseason Work

Offseason conditioning used to start in March and FA acquisitions would join it as they signed.  Now it's starting after the vast and huge number of free agents have signed and with all the new faces, it's gotta be a little weird.   I'm not sure the CBA would allow a mixer, but having one would probably help.  There are about 25 new guys.

They aren't all at the training center at the same time.   They probably do it by position groups, still there are new members in each group.  I hope the player leadership is good, because someone will have to take charge of each group and make sure everyone is comfortable and feels like part of the team.   That's an issue when you flip this many players.

There are also new coaches on the offensive side, though I'm not sure how much contact they are allowed to have with the players at this point.    But, next results were all starting to be determined with these workouts.  I hope it works out better than last season.

Woodson Fired

One ex-Knick draft pick has fired another, as Phil Jackson relieved Mike Woodson of his job.   The Knicks had diminishing returns with Woodson, and according to some of them, they didn't buy in to what he had to teach.   No successor has been named, but Steve Kerr seems like the only name in the mix.  In other news, the Knicks have added former Jordan era Bulls scout Clarence Gaines Jr., to an undesignated front office job.    Here we go.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

This Week On The Blog

This should be another eventful week on the blog.

Giants:  The Giants begin their union allowable offseason workout schedule tomorrow.   God help any of of the guys who haven't been staying in shape.  And not participating has never seemed to help anyone, miss ya, Hakeem.

Yanks:  The Yanks young aces will face their next tests Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston.  Hopefully, they'll keep making adjustments, getting more efficient and going deeper.   David Robertson will return.   Nuno has probably earned another start in Nova's place, so Mitchell will probably go down for DRob.  I was kind of hoping he's get a start.   And we could always see a trade for a 3B or something.

Rangers:  The Rangers are now in a battle for their lives as the series heads to Philly.  That was just disgusting today, and no one can fathom why they refuse with win game two's.  If they win and keep doing it, they'll lose this year's first rounder.

Knicks:  The Jackson Era should start in ernest this week as they will probably turn  the page on Mike Woodson.  Steve Kerr and Jim Cleamons have both been mentioned and they might be the new coach and new assistant respectively.  It will be interesting to see if Herb Williams finally leaves the staff.  Non- fringe player moves will probably have to wait till July.

So, it should be interesting.

Yanks Win in 12

On a day when Mark Teixeira returned, so did Yankee pitching.  Vidal Nuno tossed scoreless and the pen only gave up 1 run over the next 7.   Dean Anna worked a bases loaded walk in the 12, to give the Yanks the 2-1 lead, then Beltran knocked in two more and Sori added another RBI, giving them their 5-1 final.

Phew.  They really needed the split, and Nuno was heroic in giving them a chance.   They're off tomorrow and there might be more roster work.  Robertson returns Tuesday when Tanaka will make his first Fenway start.

Rangers Lose Game 2

The Rangers must have thought that the Flyers would give up after the Rangers got off to a quick 2-0 first period lead.   But the Flyers did not give up.  The Rangers did and they will have to make a lot better effort to win this series and advance.   They made a back up goalie look elite and their elite goalie look average.   Happy Easter, just the same.

Tex Returns

Mark Teixeira was activated from the DL and Ivan Nova is on the DL with a partially torn UCL.   That will probably be season ending.   Meanwhile the Yanks also demoted Sizemore and DFA'd Daley.   We have to hope that Tex's bat can bounce back some, even though we have no reason to.    His premature decline remains one of the strangest things I'v ever seen and a very unlucky circumstance for the Yanks.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Yankees Call Up Bryan Mitchell

Tonight, the Yankees have called up Preston Claiborne from AAA and Bryan Mitchell from AA.   Claiborne you know about.  Mitchell you may not.   He's one of the Yankees best starter prospects and the reason he's being called up is probably that he is already on the 40.  Now, I hope to god, that Cash isn't thinking about turning him into another power reliever.  The kid can start, and K'd 12 in his last start.  He's got a great arm, and I have to wonder if he'll be taking Nova's starts.  It's unusual for them to call a guy from AA, but I'm for it as long as they're not turning him into more cannon fodder for the pen.

Nova Leaves With An Injury

Ivan Nova gave up 4 homers tonight and that was unusual for him, even given his extreme inconsistency.    What's worse is he left the game shaking his arm.   We'll have to find out what that is, but in any event I am sure they will DL and rehab him down in Florida.  Perhaps even giving him his annual lesson on how to pitch.  Whenever he does come back, I am pretty sure his Yankee career will end up with his being traded someplace while he still had value.   They must have learned something from hanging onto Hughes and Joba after they were ruined.

Giants Draft: It's Less Than 3 Weeks Away

Three weeks from now we'll be in Day 3 of the Giants All-Important 2014 Draft.   They are picking 12th and they desperately need to have a good one.   Why are they so desperate?  You've seen them play and looked at the roster.   You've watched them replace a bunch of assistant coaches.  You've watched their free agent spending spree.   Does any of that scream stability?  Of course, but the Giants are a team that values stability a great deal more than say, the Cleveland Brown,s who change coaches annually.   It's probably a good value to hold as an NFL team.    Free agents probably like coming to stable franchises, and you don't end up paying a bunch of coaches that are no longer working for you.   So the Giants want to get back to stable as quickly as possible.

They've also been a fairly mediocre regular season team during the Coughlin era. In fact, they haven't made the playoffs since they won Super Bowl 46.  Further, their Coughlin and Eli windows may be starting to close.   TC is heading toward 70 and Eli just had surgery.  What's more, Kevin Gilbride says Eli's had other procedures that haven't been publicized.

Thus it just behooves the Giants to try to get back in the playoffs and see if they can make a run this year.   With all they did in free agency, they only really signed a few guys who are more than bandaids.  One of them is Geoff Schwartz.   JD Walton is pencilled in as the starting Center next year, but he's basically coming out of retirement.   Jerry and Brown are bad at football.  So the OL still requires an upgrade.  Jennings should help at RB.

DRC was the big ticket and Thurmond is good, too, but on a one year deal and the rest are bandaids.  They did pick up some good return guys, and that should help.

Anyway there are jobs and starting jobs to be had from the draft this year.  And that brings me to my next point, and the reason why I think they will probably go OL instead of DL in round one.    Right now a lot of people are projecting Aaron Donald to the Giants.  I really like this player, but for this year and maybe his career, he's going to be a third down, passing down pass rush 3 tech.  The Giants are going to most likely start Johnathan Hankins at Nose or Over tackle, and I really doubt they will start a rookie next to him.   Especially not while they still have Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson rotating there.   Btw, whatever team takes Donald should be able to dress him right away because he runs well enough to cover kicks on specials and could be used in a bunch of the subs as a joker or inside rusher.

An OL at 12 will play a lot more.   OL's aren't rotational,  and as long as they don't take a tackle only, but a T-G, they should get a much needed building block for the line.  

There are several more 3 techs that could be available as the draft moves on like Tuitt and Easley, and I'm pretty sure they'll take one.  But I think they will get a guy who can be a 7 year or more every down  solution at 12.

Yanks: Cesar Cabral DFA'd Matt Daley On The Way

After last night's meltdown the Yanks DFA'd Cesar Cabral and called up Matt Daley.  Daley is not what we'd call a "canonical" Yankee, which is to say, he was not drafted into the organization  nor was he signed as a teenaged free agent.   Daley, who is from Queen and went to Bucknell, had been a Rockies prospect and reliever until he tore his rotator cuff.   The Yankees were happy to give him a chance, as the injury market is another place the Yanks seem to be finding relievers.  Anyway Matt had 13K's in 5.1 innings so far this year, why not give him a shot.   Could be a great story.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Giants Draft Fallacy: We Can Coach Him Up

After teams make selections, the GM, the Coach and the Head of Scouting usually take turns extolling the brilliance of their latest move.   They can say a lot of things, like "He's versatile," or "He can really get after the quarterback," or "He won't be caught from behind," or stuff like that.   What you don't want to hear them says is "We can coach him up,"  or "We can clean that up."  When they say that, you should worry that they've just wasted a pick.

Here's why:  when they say they can coach a guy up, it means they are sort of desperate and reaching.      This usually indicates they've reached for an athlete and not a player.   I talked about this a bit yesterday,  but it's better to just take players.   And if you are going to take a guy who is more athlete than player -- there still has to be production.  Because if a guy doesn't really know how to play, but is still making plays, you have a chance.   But if he's just a good combine guy who "flashes" on tape because he can run down the field.  Watch out.

Then there are guys who are both athletic and instinctive but raw, and sometimes coaching them up can backfire.   Remember Gibril Wilson?  He played really well when forced into action as a rookie who'd gotten few reps in camp -- and then never really played well again after they "coached him up."

It's weird.  What makes it even moreso, is that football has become far more complicated (notice I'm not using complex) from a down to down x and o's standpoint.  There's a lot more substitution with 3, 4 and 5 WR sets on O and various zone schemes, nickels, dimes, big nickels, NASCAR fronts, etc on D.   So getting the guys who don't need coaching up organized is challenging enough, without finding time for the remedials.

This is true of position switches as well, especially under the new CBA which severely limits practice time in the offseason and from week to week in the regular season.   A team has to be a moving vehicle and there's no long or enough reps to teach a guy a new positions.  Especially one that requires him to cover or go backwards when all he's ever done has go forwards.    This has been a big problem with the Giants linebacker selections as we talked about earlier.  So if one of your buddies is pitching the Giants draft an impressive athlete that they can convert to another position, feel free to smack some sense into him.

So in a few weeks,  when the picks start happening, and Jerry, TC and Marc Ross start talking about them,  dread those coaching words, there's no time for coaching like that anymore and it has always implied a reach.    Btw, "'just scratching the surface," isn't too bad, because there's usually a bunch of production with that.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yanks Clobber Rays

Well, a Yankee starter finally gave up another earned run.  But it wasn't until the 7th inning of a laugher in Tampa.  Earlier, CC, who had benefited from both a double and triple play behind him, had given up an unearned run on a passed ball.   Soriano, McCann, and Solarte all homered.   Ellsbury tripled, and Roberts, back in the lineup,was a homer short of the cycle.  They still need to walk more, but it was a 10-2 final and there's not much to complain about.   Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th.  The 8th was an adventure as PitchFX showed the home plate umpire squeezing Dellin into two walks.   But he got out of it,  then worked a 5 pitch 1K 9th.    He still has no ERA.   Yanks might be on a bit of a roll and Kuroda cannot drop the baton tomorrow.  Let's go, Yanks!

Rangers Explode in 3rd to Take a 1-0 Series Lead!

Actually, Brad Richards exploded in the third, but I can't find my pics of him so here's one of the other goal scorers, Derek Stepan.    The game was tied 1-1 after a Mats Zuccarello goal (from Pouiot and Staal) after 1.

Then things got dicey as the Rangers dominated the second period but had nothing to show for it.  We've all seen games like this where a sudden odd man rush costs the game.    It was starting to look like possible overtime as the 3rd period progressed, but a double minor on a bad high stick to Carl Hagelin's head lead to two PPG's.   Richards scored the first from St. Louis and Nash (nice use of budget for the night).   Then Stepan scored from Richards and St. Louis.   And the it was all over but the shouting.

Hagelin was able to continue playing and scored the Rangers 4th goal, this one from Richards and Fast, playing in his first NHL Playoff game.

In all, a great effort after the rust was shaken off.   3 more and we advance!   Let's go, Rangers!

Yankee Pitching

Yankee pitching sure looks a lot better with Tanaka and Pineda, two 25 years olds, pitching like aces. If they are indeed top of the rotation guys, the Yanks can really set up a dominant pitching staff in the next season or two.  First, off, the bullpen will be set as guys like Betances, Burawa, Ramirez and Montgomery will assume big roles in the coming months and seasons.    Secondly, the 2014 offseason pitching market should feature Scherzer and Lester, either of whom would slot in with Tanaka and Pineda.  And finally, the Yanks have some high upside arms like Mitchell and DePaula who could start flying soon.  They've both had impressive starts already.   The biggest question mark is Nova.   He hasn't solved his inconsistency yet this year, and hasn't been able to get his whole arsenal working either.   If he clicks, he'll stick. Otherwise we'll have to replace him.    We'll probably have to replace Kuroda next year in any event.  But Scherzer or Lester should do the trick.    CC still has 2 or three seasons to go.   If he ever bounces back all the better.

Now, all of this being said, we do not want to be the `90s era Braves and not have enough fire power to win multiple titles if it turns out we have dominant pitching.  So Cash or whoever, will still have to find bats.   It would be nice if the Farm started yielding a few.  

Giants Draft: The Production Model

This seems like a no brainer, but apparently it isn't.  When the Giants draft well, they draft players who played all the time for their teams and produced.   When they don't draft well, they trade up for guys they fell in love with at the Senior Bowl practices like Sinorice Moss.  Other teams have been known to fall in love with guys at the combine who weren't terribly productive in college.   It's often the same mistake.

And I think those mistakes happen most often when the coaching staff gets involved.   NFL Scouts spend their weeks traveling around the country attending collegiate games and practices, looking at tape of the games they didn't attend, and writing up scouting reports.    NFL Coaches spend their weeks getting ready to play 1 game.

In fact, NFL coaches don't get involved in the draft process until after the season is done.   And that usually starts with them attending all-star games like the Senior Bowl.   That's where Tom Coughlin reportedly fell in love with Sinorice Moss.

Here's the other thing, and probably why the Moss error happened.    Remember how I told you that Bill Belichick can teach people off the street to play solid zone defense in about 15 minutes?   That's because he was once a great DB's coach.   Well TC was once a great WR's coach, so when he speaks about a WR, like a Sinorice Moss or a Ramses Barden, you should probably give a listen.   I assume that's what went wrong with Moss who was not productive in college.

Barden was a different case.  Barden was massively productive at a lower level of competition.  And if you're going to draft from small schools like that, what you have to have see if NFL measurables and dominant production.  The Giants have scored over the years grabbing guys just like that.   Unfortunately, Barden arrived at the same time as Nicks, and promptly got hurt and kept getting hurt. Plus, being as big as he was he wasn't a return guy, so it was hard for him to get healthy and get active.

I think they actually drafted him because they had lost Plax and Barden was big like Plax and in some ways a better athlete.   Plax was a way better football player.

That brings us to an important distinction about production.   Some guys will be massively productive in college, then test out as average athletes at the combine.  Guess what?   You should always take those players over the ones who test great but weren't productive in college.   And here's why: guys who aren't great athlete but still manage to produce at college are instinctive, and you can't teach instincts.

Malcom Gladwell could probably show us how long it would take a player to develop instincts, but teams don't have that kind of time.    Thus, drafting from a production model at least protects you from getting uninstinctive players -- unless they come from such a low level that they can dominate without instincts.  Barden may have been a little bit like this.

Anyway, falling in love at showcases and the combine is the real problem here.  I don't think it threatens the league like falling in love with guys who have potential  but don't know how to play is ruining basketball, but it's a good way to get bad fast.

The Raiders, for example, love to draft speed and guys who blow up the combine.   And they go through coaches like Madonna used to go through men, because even a great coach can't teach people who have athletic talent but not football talent.

When Al Davis was alive, Oakland used be a great second stop for players because Al would see where they could still be productive.  They don't have a guy like that anymore.

But getting back to the Giants, they make mistakes when they go for athletes over players.   They hit home runs when they grab players who are athletes and tend to avoid busts when they pick guys who know how to play.

As I've said earlier the Giants have gone to a default system where they take sort of productive players from major schools like Phil Dillard, Greg Jones and Tyler Sash.  They were all productive in college, though Dillards numbers correlated with the presence of Suh at Nebraska.   Even good production should be vetted to make sure it was the province of the compiler and not the teammates or systems.   Interestingly enough, all three of those bad picks were from the Big 10.

Right now, if I was running a team, I would only take the top players from the Big 10, the vast majority of college talent now seems to be in the SEC, the PAC 12 and the ACC.    That seems to be where most of the players are.  The Giants might favor the Big 10 because they play in weather, but the talent just isn't as deep as it used to be there.

Ranger Playoffs Tonight

Hank will be in net and Ryan McDonagh will return.   Not sure if Miller or Fast will play, but I'd play Miller against the physical Flyers.  Looks like we'll be facing their back up.  And though we've had a history of making backups look like Dryden in the regular season, everything can be different in the playoffs and that's one thing that has to be.  No stupid penalties, and don't let the Flyers get under your skin.   Play for 60 minutes.    That top line of Nash, Stepan and St.Louis has got to be productive.   And we need the Brassard line to be as well.  Screw it.  All 4 lines have to be flying.   Let's go, Rangers!