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e things the rest of the NFL should learn from the once-again Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Let’s look at those five things and see how they apply to the New York Giants.1) Focus on each player’s best traits.Brooks points to a number of players on the New England roster Mark Bavaro Color Rush Jersey , especially wide receiver/running back kick returner Cordarelle Patterson and left tackle Trent Brown. Brooks, however, also lists a number of other useful players acquired by the Patriots.Valentine’s View: This has long been something I have thought the Patriots do better than anyone. They focus on what players can do to add value to their team, rather than what they can’t do as reasons to keep them off the field.A coach’s primary job is to put his players — and by extension his team — in the best possible position to succeed. You do that by figuring out what your players — all of your players — can do to help you and finding ways to use it. For the Giants, this might mean taking a hard look at whether using Evan Engram inline on 50.4 percent of his snaps, as they did in 2018, is the right thing to do. It might mean taking a hard look at whether using Sterling Shepard outside is maximizing his ability. HINT: It’s not.It means trying to uncover more players like Corey Coleman, rejected by other teams but a revelation for the Giants returning kickoffs. It means, after a year of James Bettcher getting to know his players, making sure players are being used in the right roles.2) Build a roster that features a number of versatile players.Brooks writes:Valentine’s View: I do think this is something the Giants are trying to accomplish. Pat Shurmur likes multi-skilled running backs, and even the move at fullback from Shane Smith to the more well-rounded Elijhaa Penny shows that. Giants wide receivers move around and function in a variety of roles. It’s not easy, though. Finding defensive backs with the skills to play multiple spots, linebackers with an array of skills and defensive linemen useful against both the run and pass takes time.3) Place greater value on intelligence than athleticism.Brooks writes:Valentine’s View: I love this one Eli Manning Color Rush Jersey , and I think the Patriots have proven how critical it is. Reality is, if guys have reached the NFL they are great athletes. All of them. Well, maybe aside from some of the kickers. If you’re a kicker and you’re reading, sorry. And if you’re Aldrick Rosas, I’ve seen the size of your biceps. I don’t mean you.I don’t mean to beat a dead horse or go back over ancient history here, but I kind of need to. This is one of the areas where I thought former GM Jerry Reese lost his way. It just seemed like Reese drafted a lot of players over the years based on their athleticism, based on what they looked like and measured like rather than what they played like.Reese got away with that when drafting the back-flipping Jason Pierre-Paul. It backfired drafting guys like Rueben Randle, Andre Williams, Owa Odighizuwa, James Brewer and others.There are rare athletes like Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley. What separates the successful players from the unsuccessful ones at the NFL level, though, is often what is in between their ears and in their hearts. Can they learn and apply information? Can they study properly? Can they read and react quickly to what is happening on the field? That is a lot more important than how fast they run, how high they jump Connor Barwin Color Rush Jersey , or what they look like with their shirt off.4) Toughness matters.Brooks writes: Valentine’s View: Along with intelligence, this is another thing that is ultra-important and separates successful players and teams from unsuccessful ones. I think both GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur understand that trait, and value it. Witness a couple of the quotes used in Sunday’s post on the type of quarterback the Giants might be seeking to be the heir to Eli Manning.Shurmur:“I admire that. That’s really the most important thing, toughness and grit. You can be smart, you can be well-dressed, you can be well-spoken, but at the end of the day and it’s absolutely demanded in our sport, is your ability to be tough and gritty. Those are the attributes in people and especially in football players that is an absolute necessity in our business.”Gettleman:“There’s two kinds of players in this league, folks. There are guys that play professional football and there are professional football players,” Gettleman said. “And the professional football players are the guys we want. I don’t want guys that want to win. I want guys that hate to lose. That’s the professional football player. That’s what you want. So, it’s important.”Again, it takes time to find those players and populate your roster with them.5) It’s always about the team.Brooks writes: The Patriots don’t overpay for players. They just scout, and probably teach Saquon Barkley Color Rush Jersey , better than everyone else. It’s how they replace Nate Solder with Trent Brown. It’s how they let the Giants pay for Shane Vereen and easily replace him. They do that over and over and over.There are no “me-first” or “look at me” guys on the Patriots. It’s about winning, and if you don’t buy in to doing whatever that takes then you don’t stay. No matter how talented. A Date To Remember is an occasional series Big Blue View will be running through the Super Bowl, highlighting the glory of the Giants’ past and celebrating the biggest playoff wins in franchise history. The Return of the GiantsDec. 27, 1981NFC Wild Card gameGiants 27, Eagles 21The drought had lasted nearly two decades.The run of futility had stretched on for so long, co-owner John Mara would later admit that the Giants had become “the laughingstock of the NFL.”They had not reached the playoffs since 1963. But 18 years of losing finally came to an end in 1981, thanks to a legendary, devastating fumble three years earlier and a gruff character wearing 1950s-style browline eyeglasses named George Young.The first sign that the new era — the George Young era — would bear fruit came in a Wild Card game upset of the arch-rival Eagles.But the road to reach that playoff game was long and seriously bumpy.The triggering event was The Fumble — or if you’re an Eagles fan, the Miracle at the Meadowlands. A disastrous botched handoff between Joe Pisarcik and Larry Csonka in the waning seconds of a 1978 game resulted in a Herm Edwards 26-yard fumble return touchdown for the Eagles and a nearly-impossible Giants defeat. More importantly, the debacle and an ensuing fan uprising forced meaningful and irrevocable change within the organization after decades of ineptitude.Fans burned tickets in the Giants Stadium parking lot. They even flew a plane over the Meadowlands hauling the banner, “15 Years of Lousy Football — We’ve Had Enough.” It sent a message loud enough to reach the commissioner’s office, and Pete Rozelle heard them. In 1979, he suggested to the infighting Wellington Mara and Tim Mara that they hire Young as general manager to revamp the wayward franchise. Of all the decisions that preceded the 1986 and 1990 Super Bowl seasons — including the hiring of Bill Parcells Sterling Shepard Color Rush Jersey , the drafting Lawrence Taylor and the reinstating of Phil Simms as starter after he was benched in 1983 — the addition of Young might have been the most important.After all, it was Young who drafted Taylor and Simms and hired Parcells.Hope finally arrived in 1981 at Veterans Stadium in front of 71,611 fans. Philadelphia was the clear favorite, having reached the Super Bowl in 1980. The Giants had snuck into the playoffs at 9-7, after winning their final three games behind a stout defense.But they made a statement in the upset, taking leads of 20-0 in the first-quarter and 27-7 at halftime. Scott Brunner threw three first-half touchdown passes, despite completing just 9-of-14 attempts for 96 yards. Rob Carpenter — who Young acquired in October from Houston — helped the Giants eat the clock with 161 of their 183 rushing yards. And Mark Haynes recovered a fumbled kickoff in the end zone for a touchdown.The Giants would not make the playoffs again for another three years. They were hardly a perennial power. Not yet. But the foundation was set.Parcells (then the defensive coordinator) and Bill Belichick (linebackers and special teams coach) were only just beginning to show their genius in 1981 under head coach Ray Perkins.The defense was starting to build an identity as a physical unit behind Harry Carson, just as the 1950s-era team did behind Sam Huff. Taylor was making quite an impression as a rookie, registering 9.5 sacks (even if it wasn’t an official NFL stat until the next season).But it was Young who was the architect, changing the organization’s culture and fortunes from behind the scenes — and from behind those browline glasses.
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