Gibril Wilson left for greener pastures. Kawika Mitchell left for snowier pastures. Reggie Torbor left for sunnier pastures.
They all left for losing pastures.
While Wilson, Mitchell, and Torbor will be lucky if their teams combine for as many wins as the New York Giants earn in 2008, safety Sammy Knight and linebacker Danny Clark are already planning for a trip to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 1, 2009.
The Giants are being smart in signing two veterans to help replace the departed. New York’s brass did their homework in signing two guys who have played in at least 13 games a season over their entire careers.
Both guys also have a nose for finding the guy with the football. Knight has had seasons with 90 or more tackles in five of the last seven seasons. Clark recorded totals off 91, 113 and 129 tackles in the three seasons he was given the opportunity to be a full time starter.
Some Giant fans may be disappointed that Gerris Wilkinson is going to have competition for Mitchell’s old job. However, Wilkinson has only been in the league for two seasons and has never recorded more than 27 tackles in a year.
Wilkinson may indeed see a lot more turf this year as SLB Mathias Kiwanuka will also see time on the defensive line as a part of New York’s dynamic pass rush. If Michael Strahan decides to retire, then Wilkinson and Kiwanuka will see their reps increase significantly.
There are also Giant fans out there that have been criticizing the signing of Sammy Knight, who is 32 years old, and has been in the league since 1997. However, it would not have made sense to count on a younger player to fill the role of a guy who recorded 92 tackles in 13 games last season.
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and the rest of the Giants’ defense doesn’t need to put up with a youngster learning a new system while trying to defend their Super Bowl crown. Remember that Knight played with CB Sam Madison so, in theory, there should be some on-field chemistry between the two defenders.
How the Giants choose to fill the last linebacker spot remains to be seen. As the reigning Super Bowl champs, their spot in the draft will not give them a guaranteed shot at any particular player.
Some may say that with Antonio Pierce, Kiwanuka, Clark, Wilkinson, Zak DeOssie and Chase Blackburn that the Giants have enough guys with NFL experience to fill their active roster.
Others may push for the Giants to pursue that one extra guy when they notice that Antonio Pierce is the only guy in the group who has been a regular starter over the past four seasons for any club.