Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shockey's days as a Giant numbered

When the Giants selected Jeremy Shockey with the 14th pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, many people thought that Shockey was the next Marc Bavaro. Bavaro, the legendary Giants tight end, was most known for his ability to break tackles after the catch, along with his soft hands. Shockey attended the University of Miami where he was known for his antics after plays, his intensity and his wide receiver like talent. He proved quarterbacks a security blanket with supreme talent.

In his rookie year, Shockey gave us a glimpse of his talent immediately as he made many highlight reel plays in his first preseason game against the Texans, breaking tackle after tackle in an impressive debut. In an impressive rookie campaign, Shockey caught 70 balls en route to a Rookie of the Year Award. After that Shockey's career, while still a good one, has gradually become worse. His production has never rivaled that of his rookie season. He was used more and more as a blocker during his stint here, to the point where it made you wonder why they didn't trade him a long time ago. Continually, every week I would sit there and say, "Why are they wasting this man's talents?" Then he complains about it, or is visibly upset on the sideline, and now he is portrayed him as a terrorist, for goodness sake. I don't think I have ever seen a sports figure in NY receive as much blame for pretty much anything as Shockey has, this side of Alex Rodriguez. Its raining, let's blame Shockey. My wife left me, let's blame Shockey. Soulja Boy gets air time, let's blame Shockey. The gas prices are high, let's blame Shockey. On and on, you would think the man is a criminal. He just seems like the convenient punching bag.

The man wants the ball, he wants to help his team win. Blocking as much as he was, do you believe that is the best choice for the team? Then often times when he was open (I'm talking about open, not Shockey's definition of the word), Eli would miss him quite a few times causing him to be angry on the sidelines. Should Shockey be as demonstrative as he often was on the sideline? Probably not, but is he some disruptive force who is useless to the team? No, he isn't and that shows in his production. He was a good player for the Giants, one who often created mismatch problems on linebackers and safeties, one who often used his skill to help the Giants win games. And while Shockey has a lot of ego and attitude, he was never a bad teammate. Despite all of that, the Giants did their best to avoid having him around the team, as evidenced by the banning of Shockey from the sideline on Superbowl Sunday. That was another thing Shockey was blamed for with the 'Why wasn't he down there with his teammates, but upstairs in the press box drinking beer?' retort. What is conveniently left out is that the Giants didn't want him there.

Shockey's tenure here was a relatively rocky one, but he was still a productive player. He energized his teammates and the fans with his intensity and his will to win. Don't get it twisted, just because Shockey might have a WR's ego, just because he has shown up his QB a couple times, just because the New York press blames everything on him like its their job doesn't mean he is a bad teammate and doesn't mean he's all about himself. The man wants to win, and he has a passion for the game.

As far as how his loss will effect the Giants, a lot of people have said its like an addition by subtraction. Didn't the Eagles fanbase and many prognosticators say this about Terrell Owens? What has Donovan McNabb, and more importantly the team as a whole, done since he left? They haven't made it past the second round of the playoffs. I don't buy that when you get rid of someone that talented that you are adding by subtracting. Obviously in Shockey's case it is a bit different as the Giants went on a magic carpet ride all the way to one of the biggest upsets in history in SB XLII, but if you think the Giants offense will be the same with Kevin Boss, then guess again. It will be a noticeable setback, and unless that defense produces a replica of the Sack Exchange then the Giants will be watching the playoffs from their respective Home Entertainment Centers.

Speaking of Kevin Boss, I'm sure he is a good guy, I'm sure he wants to learn and play well, but can the prognosticators and the main stream media stop acting like he is destined to be Shockey's heir apparent. He may be good, sure but the man has NINE career receptions. For the love of god, you don't have a Vernon Davis type of talent sitting there, or a Ben Watson or even a Tony Scheffler type of talent. Boss was a 6th round pick who has nine career receptions. Let's ease up before we anoint him.

As far as Shockey's landing spot, at least he got sent to a good team, which is good for him. Maybe the Saints will be smart enough to not use him as a glorified olineman. At least the Giants didn't send him to Miami. It could've ended up a whole lot worse for Shockey. Hopefully he will show the world what he can do in a sensible scheme.

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