12-24-2007, 09:42 PM
kawika...up for play of of the week from ESPN.
12-24-2007, 09:44 PM
some people try to hard to be offended
12-25-2007, 12:02 AM
The problem hasn't been player selection in the draft. It's coaching and scheming. I'm sorry to say it, I've been on Gunther's bandwagon all along, but he's just not getting it done. All of these high draft picks can't be the problem. It HAS to be the coaching. There is no other logical explanation. Expect a full house cleaning this off season despite the lip service from 1 Arrowhead Dr. I sure do.
12-25-2007, 12:08 AM
the high draft picks haven't been the problem their producing.. unfortunately the high draft picks are not producing from the vermeil days
12-25-2007, 12:31 AM
Many NFL teams give up on players only to see them flourish elsewhere.
I had my doubts about Mitchell at the start of the year. He didn't look too good at first, but he's been fantastic as of late. He plays with a lot of heart and he's always around the ball. He's a good fit for the Giants defense.
This article is two weeks old.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
BY MIKE GARAFOLO
EAST RUTHERFORD -- Kawika Mitchell said the first three weeks of free agency were 21 days of "silence."
Well, maybe he just wasn't listening close enough.
"We were interested in him. I know I was," Vikings linebackers coach Fred Pagac, who coached Mitchell for two years with the Chiefs, said the other day. "He's a good football player and you want him on your team."
Mitchell isn't on Pagac's team because he signed with the Giants in late March after four seasons as the Chiefs' starting middle linebacker. It was a bargain of a deal for the Giants at the time -- one year, $1 million for a veteran starter who could easily be cut if he didn't impress in training camp.
Now, the contract looks like a flat-out steal.
Over the last two weeks, Mitchell has been one of the best players on the field for the Giants' defense, as he's recorded 22 tackles (including two for a loss) and a half-sack in wins over the Bears and the Eagles. Now settled into his new spot as the weak side on the Giants' defense, Mitchell has helped a corps of linebackers that lost Mathias Ki wanuka for the season and includes a somewhat hobbled Antonio Pierce.
Not a bad spot for a player who thought he might have played his last game in the NFL when he received no offers from teams by mid-March.
"Silence is a hard thing to go through because you start coming up with other things in your head," Mitchell said. "I put myself in a category of, 'I might not work again.'"
Soon, he realized he was in a different category: A player teams were interested in signing, but only at a different position. For the Giants, that position was weak-side linebacker, which is similar to inside linebacker because Mitchell is asked to line up behind the line -- or "stacked," in football terms -- instead of next to it.
Of course, there were a few adjustments he needed to make, but he made them quickly. After shaking off a groin injury he suffered late in the preseason, Mitchell began feeling more comfortable in a Week 3 win over the Redskins, whom the Giants face tonight at the Meadowlands.
In the teams' first meeting, Mitchell defensed two passes, including one on the fourth-quarter goal-line stand. He also had a key tackle on the series.
"At 'Mike' linebacker, you inside-out everything. Being on the outside, you have to be more outside-in," Mitchell said of the early adjustments. "It's a little bit different as far as angles and things like that
"I'm constantly learning. At this position, I've learned that if you're not cheating, you're not trying."
By "cheating," Mitchell meant "shortcuts, ways of taking on the fullback" and other "angles" he can take to disrupt the offense's plays. Pagac agreed, saying an outside linebacker can often be more aggressive in making a play because he has fewer responsibilities than the guy in the middle.
"It's easier to move to an outside position than an inside position," said Pagac, who would have played Mitchell at all three linebacker spots if he has signed with Minnesota. "Inside, you have blocks coming at you from all sides. When you play outside 'backer, you have only half the field to concern yourself with."
Pagac said he's not surprised the switch was easy for Mitchell, who would often sit with his position coach in the film room for several hours.
"If you sit down and talk with him along those lines, you get the impression that he knows the game enough to play all three spots," Pagac said. "He's a smart guy and a very good athlete."
It's unclear if the Giants feel the same way. Well, at least enough to sign Mitchell to a long-term deal after the season. Both sides have said they're not worried about an extension at this point and that making the playoffs is currently their primary concern.
But Mitchell said when the time comes, he hopes the Giants, especially general manager Jerry Reese, aren't quiet.
"Hopefully, their eyes are open," he said. "I like the team, the city, the coaches are a good group of guys and management, I talk to Mr. Reese all the time. I like the program.
"But thanks to last year, I learned you don't ever assume anything. That's really helped me out a lot -- that (21) days of silence."
Mike Garafolo may be reached at email@example.com.
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