I haven't yet touched on the crop of players the Giants drafted over the weekend, but here goes -
Getting Kenny Phillips from the U with the last pick of the first round was fantastic. He's probably better than either James Butler or Michael Johnson right now, and I could see him starting at free safety as early as week one. It also gives us great safety depth: Butler was the starting FS for the Super Bowl champs (who will probably be the backup), and Johnson is capable of starting on some teams right now. I didn't watch many Miami games last year, but from watching highlights and reading up on him, Phillips is a tremendous talent who was projected to go in the top 15 heading into his junior year - he slipped to the bottom of the first round after an inconsistent year. It's hard to characterize his biggest strength because he is solid in every aspect: he has prototypical size (6'2", 208), runs a sub-4.5 40, is a good tackler and blitzer, and played in one of the toughest college football conferences. I'm very excited to watch him, especially with our incredible pass rush - it could be easy pickings in the secondary for the good safety tandem of Phillips and Sammy Knight. After all, the pass rush made a sub-par secondary look good last year; imagine what a good secondary would look like.
- Terrell Thomas, a cornerback from USC, was taken in round two, followed by Mario Manningham, a high-upside Michigan wide receiver in round three. This will create some interesting roster battles in training camp as the Giants have seven corners and seven receivers. At least one from each group will be either cut or assigned to the practice squad.
- The givens at WR are Plax, Toomer and Smith. Moss, Manningham, Tyree and Hixon will all compete for the last few spots. I'm pulling for Manningham mostly because I want to hear announcers say "Manning to Manningham!" Hixon has a lead over the others because he's a very good kick returner, while Tyree is an excellent gunner on special teams. Moss can also return kicks but has very limited experience in that area (10 kick returns in his pro career, the last coming in 2006). My best guess is that Hixon is assigned to the practice squad, allowing Moss and Bradshaw to return kicks. Don't get me wrong, Hixon is a very good kick returner, but Bradshaw is just as good and you can't cut Tyree (the team's best gunner).
The cornerback depth chart is a bit easier to predict. The givens are Ross, Webster and Madison. That leaves Thomas, McQuarters, Dockery and Pope to fight for spots. Pope was last on the depth chart in '07 so he's most likely to be cut/reassigned. McQuarters is old (32) but is still a serviceable corner and punt returner. Dockery is very solid as a 4th corner, and usually lines up against the opponent's small, speedy receiver. Thomas is big (6'1", 202) and at the very least should be an excellent special teams gunner and occasional blitzer. My guess is Pope gets assigned to the practice squad, allowing McQuarters or Ross to return punts.
If Abreu’s double is a foot higher, the Yanks score 7 runs instead of 6. If there's no rain delay, Hughes probably goes at least five.
I had a very bad feeling when Giambi popped out with the bases juiced and was cursing at Jorge after his GDP in the 9th.
The 50-minute rain delay really sucked, because it forced Hughes out after just two innings. If he goes just 5 ip, 3 er, the team's in much better shape than what Ohlendorf put them in. In fairness to him, he pitched a great first inning, but to get through those great hitters (Thome, Konerko, Dye) it helps to have a 3rd pitch and he doesn’t have one (or doesn’t have confidence in it).
But I’ll try to be an optimist: better to lose the game in the 9th than to keep it tied well into extra innings, burning out the entire pen for the upcoming series. At least Mo is rested.
With any luck, Farnsy and Bruney will go on the DL (nothing against Bruney but he’s in a cast), and Ohlie and Moeller be sent down. That allows Shelley, along with three of Patterson, Edwar, Britton, Alby and Veras to come up to relieve the relievers.
By the way, that 1-2 fastball to Quentin in the 9th should’ve been strike 3.PS: Another homer for Melky tonight. What a start for him (outside of some uncharacteristically below-average throws).