Flawed Analytics?

Flawed Analytics?

Flawed Analytics?
M.D. Wright

The analytics that companies utilize (scanning resumes for buzzwords, and other hands-off, severely flawed techniques) have to be overhauled. There is a reason that companies end up hiring the wrong person more than half the time. If someone has demonstrated (whether truthfully, embellished or flat out lying) that they have previously done work commensurate — if not the exact same responsibilities — as the posting at hand, you owe it to yourself to at the very LEAST to interview that person. If they are truthful, it will show. And furthermore, for those who are more than articulate in terms of conveying their acumen, they will shine over those who are lying, embellishing, or are inarticulate to the point where they prove to not be the proper candidate. But too often, the proper candidate doesn’t even get selected because of something so ridiculous as keywords that don’t line up with some scanning program in the first place.

If you hate spending the hard costs associated with hiring and re-hiring poor quality candidates, does it not behoove you to change your practices, because a) you are costing your company by repeatedly hiring the wrong people and b) the RIGHT people are being passed over for jobs solely because they don’t possess the ESP necessary to know which keywords they need to include on their resume to even be considered for the job in the first place?

There is absolutely no reason for people with a healthy mixture of academic success and demonstrated, transferable acumen across four different industries to be passed over repeatedly in terms of job offers. There are too TOO many people like this passing through the cracks due to screwed up analytics on the part of companies, solely because they are too cheap to employ people who conduct thorough examinations of prospective employees.


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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in 2014


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Passing Thoughts

Passing Thoughts

Passing Thoughts
M.D. Wright

It is amazing how people think that when you have been unemployed, that you suddenly forgot how to do things that made you successfully previously. I got people trying to tell me how to do things that I have done before, and they HAVEN’T. Worse yet, accurate pointers provided in the areas of real estate, business start up, preparing for law school and market analysis/investing suddenly matter not when it comes from the mouth of someone who has experienced a stint of unemployment, but did each of these things extensively (and more importantly, much more and successfully than the person(s) that are soliciting the advice to begin with.)

Come talk to me when you have attended college full time, served as head of a ministry, co-founded a non-profit organization and did the day-to-day paperwork yourself, AND worked a full-time job at the same time, with none of the work suffering in any capacity.

I think I know a little about time management and getting up before the birds chirp. Being out of work didn’t cause amnesia.

Thank God the unemployment period is finally over. I guess the advice will suddenly be “credible” again, huh?

Ships in the Night

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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in 2014


Happy 10th Birthday! 10 Things We Miss About Facebook Before Our Moms Got A Profile (LIST)

Originally posted on Global Grind:

Facebook Expected To File For IPO

Hey Facebook! You’re 10-years-old today!

Which means…we’re ancient. Many of us can remember when you first hit the scene. Hell, many of us still have our MySpace accounts. And on this special day when you turn the coveted double digits (until you hit about 28), we’d like to remember those first days that were filled with so much joy and laughter.

From your first steps out of Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room, to being potty trained (equivalent to the addition of photo albums which was like, EPIC), we’ve been there since the beginning. And though you may be all bells and whistles and crazy security and algorithm changes that confuse us on a daily, we’ve had some good times.

So here’s to the Facebook we miss. The Facebook before your mom or uncle joined. And definitely before places of employment used it as an extension of your resume.

Being allowed…

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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Michael D. Wright


Super Bowl XLVIII Complete Bettor’s Guide

Super Bowl XLVIII Complete Bettor’s Guide

Super Bowl XLVIII Complete Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright

Bettor’s Guides only serve as one medium through which to view a particular game. The thing about bettors guides is that it isn’t necessarily about who will win, but predicting point total outcomes for both teams as relate to the spreads and over/under lines. Copious amounts of research is compiled from trends ranging from individual players on each team, to team performance, factoring in weather, matchups and other factors. That is the beauty of handicapping sports; you can compile data through SQL until the cows come home, but the reality is that there are two major factors that often have a larger impact in football games that cannot be factored: injuries and turnovers (and the timing of each). We can hack away at the statistics and talk about match ups all we want, but all it takes is a turnover by  either team to throw off predictive outcomes altogether.

Here are the lines and analyses for both teams:

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
Giants Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Giants Stadium 1
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Weather: 34 Degrees (Clear) at Gametime, Low of 25 — 20% Chance of Precipitation — Winds Variable up to 10 MPH
My Call: SEA +2
Over/Under: Over 46.5

Analysis: Football is about matchup, not statistics. Let’s get this fact out of the way, before assessing predictive outcomes. Denver’s offense was ranked #1 in the NFL, and was the best offense of all-time in 2013, scoring 606 points (37.9 PPG). Defensively, Denver was up and down throughout the year; flashing some shutdown moments (particularly in the playoffs), and some moments where the defense was a sieve. Overall, they yielded 399 points (good for 24.9 PPG), which was 22nd in the NFL.

Seattle’s defense was ranked #1 in the NFL, and, considering the way that rules have greatly aided offenses in the past decade, is in the conversation for a Top 10 defense of all time. Indeed, the secondary had the lowest QBR rating of any team since the statistic has been recorded. While Seattle’s offense faltered late in the season, the team still scored 407 points (26.1 PPG), and only yielded 231 points (14.4 PPG). Thinking back to the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, the Seahawks only yielded a field goal more per game points wise, and the Ravens did not play against the offensive-slanted rules that the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL defenses currently face. They swept the five most important defensive categories, finishing 1st in each. Seattle’s defensive QBR is even better than the 1985 Chicago Bears. Put that into perspective.

That said, this game is going to come down to more than what people are attempting to simplify things into, scheme-wise. There are bigger questions of how Denver will stop Seattle’s offense (which has Percy Bill Harvin back and 100%, coming off a concussion in the Divisional Playoff game vs. New Orleans), than how Seattle will match up against Denver’s offense.

While Denver had their way with San Diego and New England — teams whose QBs are both relative statues — Seattle presents a bigger and wider range of challenges. Terence “Pot Roast” Knighton has been a space-eater throughout the 2013 Season for Denver, and stepped up his game as the season wore on. His play in the middle at NT is key to what Denver does, because the Broncos are not equipped to handle Seattle’s varied rushing attack out of the I-formation, nor the read option with now a more mobile QB in Russell Wilson being just as much of a rushing threat as Marshawn Lynch. Denver cannot afford to sell out to stop Wilson nor Lynch, because of the third option in the read: the play action pass. WRs Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Percy Harvin are lithe and able to find spaces to sit down in the vast amount of zone that Denver plays. The critical question will also be how Denver accounts for the injury to Chris Harris. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will most likely be covering Tate, but does Champ Bailey have enough to chase behind Baldwin all game? Harris played the slot very well, who, then, will cover Harvin? There hasn’t been enough talk about Denver’s defensive shortcomings (also missing Von Miller, which is huge), and more focus on Peyton Manning and the Denver offense, which, in my humble opinion, is going to struggle mightily at times to move the ball at all, much less in their normal, explosive fashion.

OLB Shaun Phillips has stepped into Miller’s role and filled in admirably, but if Denver has to send both their OLBs upfield in pass rush situations, Wilson will have lanes to both make clean passes and take off for runs. Denver is too beat up defensively (we might even see Quentin Jammer at times) to account for Wilson running without bringing a safety down — thereby freeing up Harvin, Tate and Baldwin in single coverage. Denver must stop the run game, or Seattle will be able to successfully employ the stratagem that San Diego used to beat Denver at Sports Authority Field (the only team to do so in 2013), and that consists of running the football effectively, shortening the game, dominating time of possession, thereby keeping Peyton Manning off the field.

I really do not see Denver being able to stop the run all game. San Francisco’s front seven may be the best against the run in the NFL, and even they wore down and became a sieve as the 2nd half wore on in the NFC Championship, providing lanes for Lynch to carve them up for chunks at a time (before and after NaVorro Bowman’s injury). Denver does not have that level of personnel, without bringing an extra player into the box. They do not want to find themselves in single coverage against Wilson’s receivers.

Seattle’s defense is loaded with fast, versatile athletes. Ranging from their pass rushers — Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons and even Bruce Irvin (who is a Joker in Dan Quinn’s defense), the defensive middle which is active and holds the point, while providing pressure — Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald), to the rangy, and sprinter-level LBs — Bobby Wagner at Mike, Bruce Irvin (Joker OLB, DE, S responsibilities), KJ Wright (who takes away the best tight ends in the NFL), along with Malcolm Smith, who does the same, to the best secondary in the NFL by far, led by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, bolstered by the improvement over Brandon Browner that is Byron Maxwell, and anchored by Jack Tatum-esque kill shot artist Kam Chancellor. Because their back seven can cover any set of receivers, even Denver’s illegal pick plays will be spotty in their effectiveness. Even if Denver tries to stack three guys to Maxwell’s side, Walter Thurmond and Jeremy Lane are very good in coverage on their own. Given that Earl Thomas covers so much ground, this strategy isn’t going to be all that effective. Especially since Irvin and Wright blow up screens with great propensity. So do the defensive linemen peeling off. Screens have not worked well against Seattle all year. Denver loves screens.

Peyton Manning’s arm strength is a topic of conversation. For now, the winds don’t appear to be heading for typical Giants (MetLife) Stadium cross-cutting winds. And it does not appear that it will be brutally cold, as the dramatists originally feared. However, Manning got away with some lame duck throws at times this year. The ball cannot hang in the air against this defense. It leads to tipped balls and/or clean interceptions. Not even Demaryius Thomas (the fastest of the WRs) can run away from anyone in the secondary without a pick play, and the Seahawks really cover the outside very well, so Thomas will be free at times on picks, but will have a defender waiting on the outside of the play. Earl Thomas and Chancellor waiting for big shots is not an inviting prospect. Demaryius Thomas struggled to get open in both games he faced Aqib Talib, so it will be interesting to see how often he lines up opposite Sherman. Seattle plays their base look, and don’t move around their CBs to take specific players very often.

Seattle plays a base, which means they don’t engage in a lot of trickery, switching off or taking particular players with specific defenders. They don’t disguise, they don’t move. Sherman plays left. Maxwell plays right. Thomas free. Chancellor strong. They play match up with the OLBs and safeties with the TEs in coverage, and provide run support with both OLBs and the Mike (Wagner), along with both safeties. They aren’t thinking as much as players would in a complicated scheme, which allows them to play faster and react quickly when diagnosing plays.

In other words, Denver moves their receivers around all game, so there won’t be any exclusive matchups. When Thomas is right, he is up against Sherman, Eric Decker is left on Maxwell. Malcolm Smith and KJ Wright will take Julius Thomas, and when they move away from that match up on the back end, Wagner will go with Julius at times.

Wes Welker will be blanketed by Jeremy Lane and Walter Thurmond. Bruce Irvin is a joker in this scheme, because he can rush the edge, provide run support, and is as fast as every single Denver receiver.

If Denver is able to run the football and keep Seattle honest, they may be able to set up some play action, which can be the one weak spot for Seattle, given Chancellor’s tendency to fly to the ball after his initial read. Doing so is what allowed Roddy White to catch a touchdown pass vs. Seattle in the divisional playoff last season, as Sherman was in an “off” position, bailing with support from Chancellor deep. Chancellor bit on the play and came down toward the box, and allowed for Matt Ryan to find White. Denver will be looking for this at times, and Demaryius Thomas is usually Manning’s target. If Denver is able to have early success running the football, this will be one of the shots they will attempt to take — regardless if it is to Sherman’s side.

All in all, great defense beats great offense, particularly a defense that led the NFL in takeaways. The one thing that cannot be factored into handicapping football games is turnovers, and the likelihood is high that this defense will force at least one (either via interception or a strip-sack of Manning). When you have a relentless defense, it is much more likely that the offense gets off schedule, than the defense leaks and gives up chunks of yardage with several big plays. It is one of those metrics that seems to always lean in the defense’s favor. Given the relatively calm weather that is currently being predicted, this bodes better for Denver than 18 degrees and “weather.” Any precipitation and/or wind would prove to be a negative factor for Manning, who has a tendency to throw fluttering passes at times. I am basing my call on the breakdown listed above and the initial forecast.

Denver                          23
Seattle                          27

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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in 2014


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2014 NFL Conference Championship Bettor’s Guide

2014 NFL Conference Championship Bettor’s Guide

2014 NFL Conference Championship Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright

Andrew Luck has 9 turnovers in his three career playoff games, two losses, and a miracle comeback. He’s the Next Great Thing. Russell Wilson is serving as game manager (after Seattle lit up the skies this time last year offensively) and protects the football, and people actually think he is underperforming. Seattle is still alive — and the only straight up winner for me last week — and Indianapolis is not. Nor is Carolina, as Cam Newton got his first taste of playoff football.

Tom Brady has to travel to Denver this time to contend with the Denver Broncos, whose defense looked alive for once in the divisional playoff vs. San Diego. Peyton Manning will hear all types of taunts and be under pressure if Denver loses. Despite playing a great game vs. San Diego (considering the elements) and yet the chatter of “the choke is on” was rampant, despite Denver’s defense being the reason why. Amazing how this has always been the case with Manning’s teams and the defenses he’s had in 9 of those 11 playoff losses to this point. Manning was almost singlehandedly the reason his teams have won the 10 playoff games that he’s got, but only the chief culprit in two of the 11 playoff losses. Yet the narrative is alive and well. Yawn.

Colin Kaepernick gets to go back to his house of horrors in Seattle. We think he will be licking his wounds this weekend, not kissing his biceps, when the smoke clears on Sunday night.

Last Week:
SU: 1-3
ATS: 2-2

New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Denver, Colorado
Denver Broncos 4
Sunday, January 19, 2014
My Call: DEN -6
Over/Under: Over 56

alysis: There will not be much resistance from the defenses in this game. Denver is going to be without Von Miller (torn ACL) and Chris Harris (torn ACL). This affects the ability of Denver to pressure Tom Brady and cover downfield (although New England does not feature many passes beyond 15 yards in their offense). The real threat for New England is their rushing attack, which has been potent all season.

Peyton Manning is not Andrew Luck. Nor are Denver’s receivers mistaken to be Indianapolis’. The Patriots will struggle to stop the Broncos’ passing game, while the Broncos will sell out to stop the run. The way New England is structured, they are the one team remaining that CANNOT consistently exploit Denver’s woes in the secondary. Add in the thin air and the offensive edge to Denver at home, and they look good with the points. The over could hit just before or immediately after halftime.

New England                    34
Denver                              45

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field
Seattle, Washington
Seattle Seahawks 3
Sunday, January 19, 2014
My Call: SEA -3.5
Over/Under: Over 39

Analysis: Too much is being made about statistics heading into this game. Football still is, and always will be, about match ups. San Francisco can probably play Seattle to a draw in San Francisco, but the crowd noise and league-best defense rattles Colin Kaepernick into rushed throws, turnovers and a departure from the running game. Seattle has made the most potent NFC passing attack look like peons twice within a month, but supposedly San Francisco’s mediocre receiving corps, with a mediocre QB is going to reverse the trend that is the 49ers playing poorly in Seattle? On paper, this game seems like a knock-down, drag-out defensive battle.

Games are not played on paper, however. They are played by little men inside your TV sets. I don’t see San Francisco having any chance.

San Francisco                    13
Seattle                               27

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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in 2014


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2014 NFL Divisional Weekend Bettor’s Guide

2014 NFL Divisional Weekend Bettor’s Guide

2014 NFL Divisional Weekend Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright

Playoffs are as unpredictable as the regular season. Although there were no genuine upsets in the Wild Card playoffs, for handicapping purposes, there were two upsets last weekend. As the playoffs progress, those odds tend to decrease. I am sticking with that trend with my calls.

Last Week:
SU: 2-2
ATS: 3-1

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field
Seattle Seahawks 3
Saturday, January 11, 2014
My Call: SEA +7.5
Over/Under: Over 46

Analysis: Pete Carroll says the previous meeting between these two teams doesn’t matter. He’s right. It doesn’t. But not for the reasons that some claim: “It is difficult to beat the same team twice (or thrice) in a season,” or “Teams adjust.” Both are true. The latter much more so than the former. The reality is, Seattle will be playing a different ball game, with an extra week to prepare (and adjust to what New Orleans did later in the game when when they were able to move the ball against the Seahawks’ backups), and could have Walter Thurmond and Bill Harvin for this game, as well. KJ Wright covered Jimmy Graham very well (although the pass rush hounded Drew Brees more than anything else), and Malcolm Smith can do the job there. The question will be what New Orleans does when on defense, down Kenny Vaccaro, Jabari Greer and wondering what kind of question mark Pierre Thomas (on offense) and Keenan Lewis will be, as well. Seattle can slow the Saints, particularly with the help of the fabled “12th Man”, but the bigger question is New Orleans being able to consistently stop Seattle. I do not see it happening.

BEWARE of the backdoor cover and late “over” here, though.

New Orleans
Seattle                            31

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium
Foxborough, Massachusetts
New England Patriots 3
Saturday, January 11, 2014
My Call: IND +7.5
Over/Under: Over 52

Analysis: Defense in this game will be shoddy at best. New England is missing Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and now Brandon Spikes — their best run defender. Nearly all of Indianapolis’ secondary is in bad shape, although LaRon Landry and Vontae Davis will play, they are beaten up. Tom Brady can continue writing his narrative, but Andrew Luck seems to be on a mission this year. The Patriots will miss Rob Gronkowski, which is a huge loss for New England’s offense. The Colts have something working with Luck and T.Y. Hilton. Everyone knows that Bill Belichick works to take away a team’s best offensive option as a longtime defensive coordinator himself. However, planning to do something, and having the personnel to do so are two completely different things.

Indianapolis                     34
New England                   30

San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
Carolina Panthers 3
Sunday, January 12, 2014
My Call: Pick ‘em (CAR)
Over/Under: Under 42

Analysis: Colin Kaepernick ran amok on Green Bay’s defense. He won’t in Charlotte. That’s really the end.

San Francisco                          9
Carolina                                 20

San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High
Denver, Colorado
Denver Broncos 4
Sunday, January 12, 2014
My Call: SD +9.5
Over/Under: Under 54.5

Analysis: Easiest spread of the week. Vegas does not respect the Bolts. But they are the only team that beat Denver in Denver. And the way they did it is simple: efficient offense, shorten the game with the running game, and don’t turn over the football; thereby reducing possessions for Peyton Manning. The Chargers’ defense has been middle of the road or lower most of the year (after a decade straight being a Top 10 defense — including #1 twice — in the entire NFL), however, it has stepped up over the past month. When the Bolts were 5-6, I stated that they were the best bet to make the playoffs out of the teams that were jockeying for the Wild Card spot after the 2nd place team in the AFC West, because they had four of their final five games at home. Even on the road, the Bolts run the ball well (especially with the B-Men missing Von Miller and having Derek Wolfe as a question mark, along with the defense itself being beat up pretty badly). Philip Rivers continues to complete 3 of every 4 passes and doesn’t turn it over. That means a lower-scoring game (per Denver standards), fewer possessions for Manning, and, in my eyes, a Bolts win, and Peyton Manning’s haters having another piece of ammunition to chide him — when, once again, the defense will be the reason a Manning-led team loses a playoff game. The Broncos’ defense was on the game for nearly 40 minutes in the last match up with San Diego.

That was Manning’s fault also. The Chargers have been battle tested more than any team in the NFL. Do not bet against them making the Super Bowl and even winning it. They have a lot of those same intangible characteristics of the 2011 New York Football Giants. The irony is palpable, considering how the younger Manning (and his team) fared in 2013.

San Diego                  27
Denver                       23

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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in 2013, 2014


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2013 New York Football Giants Season Recap

2013 New York Football Giants Season Recap

2013 New York Football Giants Season Recap
M.D. Wright

The New York Football Giants wrapped up their 2013 season with a disappointing 7-9 record, amassing a ghastly 44 turnovers and a paltry 18.3 points per game with a rather offensive display of offense all season. The Giants never seemed to be on the same page with each other offensively after the BYE week in the 2012 season, with three shutout losses in the past 24 games, which is almost unheard of, considering this general core of players has been scoring about 26 points per game on average over the past five seasons. Although the offense turned over the football at a historically-bad rate, and there were key injuries on both sides of the football (particularly the defense, which still performed admirably well despite being put into tough situations all season due to the offense’s turnovers), the Giants still found themselves in a position to potentially make a push to win the division in Week 17, had they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12 (which would have pulled the Giants even with Dallas, and a half game behind the Philadelphia Eagles for the division lead).

As it turned out, nine wins would have won the division, and the Giants, despite beginning the season in historically bad fashion, with a galling 0-6 record — despite having a talented set of wide receivers and a beefed-up defense — were still in position to potentially win the division. Here is the breakdown of the season from a statistically, unit and individual standpoint, with some offseason suggestions included in the end.


4,920 Net Yards (28th; 307.5 Yards Per Game).
3,588 Net Passing Yards (19th; 224.5 Passing Yards Per Game).
1,332 Net Rush Yards (29th; 83.3 Rushing Yards Per Game).
294 Total Points (28th; 18.4 Points Per Game).
44 Turnovers (-15 Giveaway/Takeaway).

Yes, the offense was broken.

Special Teams:
933 Net Kickoff Return Yards (17th; 21.2 per return — No Returns for Touchdowns).
246 Net Punt Return Yards (22nd; 7.2 per return — No Returns for Touchdowns).

David Wilson’s absence was felt.

34 Sacks (T-25th).
17 Interceptions (T-12th; 2 Returned for Touchdowns).
17 Forced Fumbles (T-8th; 12 Recovered).
29 Takeaways.
5,316 Total Yards (8th; 332.3 Total Yards Per Game).
3,573 Passing Yards (10th; 223.3 Passing Yards Per Game).
1,743 Rushing Yards (14th; 108.9 Rushing Yards Per Game).
383 Total Points (18th; 23.9 Points Per Game).

Season Recap:
The Giants began the season with a seemingly blasé attitude, as evidenced by CB Terrell Thomas’ comments the day before the Giants headed to Arlington, Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys (

As it turned it out, Thomas’ attitude toward Week 1 and the season in general turned out to be a precursor for things to come. The Giants were sloppy the entire season offensively, while the defense was put into precarious positions for most of the season due to the offense’s turnovers. Considering that FS Stevie Brown was lost to a torn ACL during preseason, CB Corey Webster missed virtually the entire season with leg issues, and DE Jason Pierre-Paul struggled coming off June 2013 back surgery, the Giants played admirably well with a beefed-up rotation at defensive tackle. The acquisition of MLB Jon Beason further bolstered the Giants’ run defense, although pass defense yielded more yardage (albeit fewer points on average, as the turnovers declined following the BYE week, until a late barrage of turnovers to finish the season) once Beason was acquired, as well.

As is the case with all statistics, the numbers must be crunched and viewed from several angles, instead of being viewed myopically and one-sided. In an average season with average numbers of turnovers, the Giants would have had about 23-25 turnovers, and been good for about 25 PPG on offense, which would have alleviated the defense of about 4-5 PPG and about 75-80 yards on defense per game. Given that the Giants lost three games by fewer than 7 points, and lost another due to three turnovers in the 4th quarter in a game where they had been leading prior to the successive turnovers (vs. Philadelphia in Week 5), the metrics would indicate that the Giants would have finished 10-6 or 11-5. However, you are what your record says you are, and when you turn over the football 44 times, you are fortunate to even win 7 games, regardless of the strength of the opponent.

Head Coach
: Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin has banked a ton of benefit of the doubt in New York. With two Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011, and a consistent approach to the game as a head coach, he will return as Head Coach in 2014. The team will want to eventually revisit the situation, as Coughlin will be 70 years old when the 2015 season begins. Despite everything, Coughlin is as energetic as the youngest head coaches in the NFL, and the game has not passed him by. However, the game had indeed passed by former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who retired 20 years to the day that former Houston Oilers defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan stealthily punched Gilbride on the sidelines of a game versus the New York Jets on January 2, 1994. Gilbride was the offensive coordinator, and Houston’s offense was on its way to shutting down completely in the playoffs for the fourth straight season under Gilbride. In 1992, the Oilers blew the biggest lead in NFL playoff history. In 2010, the Football Giants blew the biggest regular season lead in NFL history. Both under Gilbride. In the past 24 games, the Giants have been shut out three times. It was time for a change.

Offensive Coordinator: Vacant
Gilbride’s retirement on January 2, 2014 created a void in the position. There is talk that former Giants QB coach Mike Sullivan would return. The fanbase is split on this, because it would represent “more of the same” with the offensive philosophy, rather than a couple of major tweaks and adjustments to what had been largely successful over the decade under Coughlin. If there is indeed continuity in mind, Sullivan would be the pick. However, Norv Turner, Jay Gruden and Gary Kubiak are likely going to be available, despite claims that Turner would not be a good fit. The Giants have had too many issues with their offensive line over the past three seasons, particularly with the inability to run the football, and in the past season and a half, pass protection, as Eli Manning was sacked more (39) in 2013 as he had been in his previous 9 NFL seasons.

Defensive Coordinator: Perry Fewell
Fewell was short his best pass rusher for all but truly two or three games where he (Pierre-Paul) flashed signs of his old self, his ballhawking free safety (Stevie Brown), starting CB Corey Webster, and a lack of depth at linebacker. All things considered, with all the short fields that his defense began with, the Giants still finished 8th overall in total defense; including in the Top 6 after Beason was acquired. Fewell is the least of the Giants’ concerns. The Giants will need to replenish the corner position, add a Sam LB and another pass rusher. If Fewell does not land the Washington Redskins head coaching position, that’s the extent of what the Giants need to do in terms of adding personnel. Whether they decide to retain Linval Joseph, Justin Tuck and Jon Beason is another story.

Eli Manning had his worst season since his 7-game initiation into the NFL in 2004. Considering the state of affairs along the offensive line (which affects the ability to run, pass protect, and as a by-product, the defense against an opposing offense’s time of possession), this was no shock. With 27 interceptions and 7 fumbles, Manning was good for 34 of the 44 turnovers. The offensive line went through seven different lineups, shuffling Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, Jim Cordle, David Baas, Chris Snee, Brandon Mosley, James Brewer and Justin Pugh at various intervals. The Giants even had to sign Dallas Reynolds off the street late in the season. David Diehl may have played his last game with the Giants. Chris Snee has an arthritic hip which may force him to retire. Mosley and Brewer don’t appear to be dependable. Beatty regressed horribly in both run and pass protection. Boothe was solid and versatile (playing both guard and center), but not spectacular, as he had been in 2011 and 2012, and Pugh — a rookie — may have been the most consistent of all of the offensive linemen, which is an indictment. Half of the available linemen ended up on injured reserve (Diehl, Baas, Snee and Cordle). That did not bode well for the offense in both rushing the football and pass protection for Manning, who ended up forcing passes in order to make plays that were normally available in previous seasons. Gilbride was not the sole reason for the offensive woes (as he pointed out that the offensive line was shoddy even in training camp 2013), but his job was to maximize the potential with what he had. What worked in 2007-2010 no longer worked for the linemen on this team. Gilbride failed to do this, therefore, ownership conveniently made him the scapegoat in order to initiate changes.

The run game was obviously negatively affected as a result. David Wilson went down with a potentially career-ending neck injury. Andre Brown missed the first half of the season coming off a broken leg suffered in the preseason. Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis were brought in as stop-gaps, but Jacobs was injured and has now retired, and Hillis is not nearly the same player he was in his big season in Cleveland a few years ago. Only Michael Cox, a rookie, was left at one point. The Giants also had to replace FB Henry Hynoski, who had two freak injuries — one in the offseason, and one in his first game back in the regular season — with Jon Conner, as the season wore on. The offense was in shambles even in preseason. With the injuries suffered as the season went on, the team never had a chance. Victor Cruz was electric until he went down with an injury in Wee 15. Hakeem Nicks still managed nearly 900 yards, but no touchdowns, and was clearly preoccupied with remaining healthy in time to cash in for a big contract extension in the offseason. Rueben Randle only made incremental progress coming off his 2012 season.

As previously stated, the defense was solid, never electric or exceptional, but did its job. The defensive tackle positions were bolstered in the offseason, and it showed, as the Giants stuffed the run very well all season. The edge rushers were banged up or slowed, but came on late. The outside linebacker positions were sorely lacking, and the middle linebacker position was just a body until Jon Beason was acquired via trade with Carolina, and his rangy ability to make plays from sideline to sideline greatly helped the run defense.

The secondary was beaten up early and often. Prince Amukamara was steady, but only managed one interception in 2013. Antrel Rolle had a Pro Bowl season with 6 interceptions and a forced fumble, with tons of run support and very good coverage ability. Stevie Brown’s injury handicapped the coverage ability for the defense, and Pierre-Paul’s back injury truly hindered the pass rush. Considering everything, the Giants defense played decently.

Trumaine McBride filled in admirably in Webster’s absence. Will Hill came on — but unbeknownst to people who don’t follow college football — he was a very good player at the University of Florida. Ryan Mundy played well when he

Josh Brown was solid on kickoffs and field goals, and Steve Weatherford (outside of a couple of games) was his normal steady self. Coverage teams regressed to 2010 levels, and it may cost Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn his job. Rueben Randle is not cutting it on punt returns, and the kickoff returns have not been nearly as explosive as they were in 2012 with David Wilson returning kicks. Special teams in coverage were poor on both punts and kickoffs, which also killed the Giants in several games, including Kansas City (most abhorrently).

Giants finished 7-9, with 44 turnovers, rank with a D+ grade. The personnel was there to win 10 games and the division. The reality is, the Giants didn’t beat a winning team (at the time that they played them) other than Philadelphia, and lost to every winning/playoff team that they played. You are what your record says you are.

The Giants need to revamp their offensive line, plain and simple. There are pieces present. What will they do with Beatty, coming off a broken leg? Does Boothe go back to left guard? Who will be center? Drafting a center such as Bryan Stork out of Florida State in the 2nd Round? Who mans right guard? Pugh maybe moves to right guard? Who plays right tackle? Beatty? Will the Giants draft a tackle to play Eli’s blind side, or sign a free agent? There are a few ways to go here, but the Giants will have to be smart with the cap space. They may have upwards of $30 Million clear, but some of that has to be attributed to existing roster players, not solely for external free agents.

The running back position needs attention, particularly if David Wilson cannot resume his career. Andre Brown fumbles just as much as Wilson, so what is the recourse — particularly if Brown is injured again — if Wilson cannot go?

The Giants will attempt to retain Hakeem Nicks, but other teams will almost certainly offer him more money than the Giants. Does he truly want to stay? What does the “stability” that he claims to want, consist of? Victor Cruz and Eli Manning are constants. So is Pugh. Randle will be in the mix, but outside of those four, who can truly be a guarantee to return and contribute heavily in 2014? What’s Jerrel Jernigan’s stature going forward within the Giants offense?

Defensively, the questions are all about the health of Pierre-Paul going forward. Back surgery is no light-hearted matter. Some guys never return to their pre-injury form. The fortunate ones, do. Pierre-Paul is lucky that he is only 25. Will Justin Tuck return? Beason? Stevie Brown? Antrel Rolle is entering the final year of his initial deal with the Giants. The bottom line issue is addressing the lack of speed at both OLB positions, while adding another corner, since the Giants will be stacked at safety with Rolle, Brown, Hill and Mundy. The emergence of Johnathan Hankins, Damontre Moore and Markus Kuhn will be pivotal going forward.

Ultimately, the Giants are not far away from contending. Shuffling and stabilizing the offensive line, restoring the pass rush, and plugging the other holes at LB and DB are the main foci this offseason. Managing the cap and drafting for need as opposed to “best available” has to be the philosophy in 2014 for General Manager Jerry Reese. If Reese plays his cards properly, the Giants will be the favorites to win the NFC East.

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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in 2013, Michael D. Wright


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