Mike Florio goes around the league, talking about Peyton Manning, Peyton Hillis etc.. Later, he and Amani Toomer talk about #81′s comments on his former teammate, Jeremy Shockey.
Amani Toomer: “After Jeremy Shockey in 2007 got injured, Eli’s play went up because he didn’t have that distraction in the huddle.” On twitter, bad teammate, worse person. “When Jeremy first came he was the ultimate professional, and I was the first person singing his praises.”
This whole topic of conversation got started because Shockey is a free agent. Naturally, people consider whether the old team will have interest.
Okay, folks, this may not be easy, but on a day when Shockey’s stock price is collapsing, I am going to support this guy and take his side.
No, I am NOT advocating for the NY Giants to take Shockey back. That ship has sailed. But it goes back to what I have always said about Shockey- he was never managed properly by his coaching staff. He was an alphamale Pro Bowl talent that could arguably be a Hall of Famer. Instead he is a loudmouth and a bad teammate. What happened? As I have said before, when you have exceptional talent and a pea brain, it is a volatile cocktail. Guys like Keyshawn Johnson come to mind. And the next moment, my thoughts lead to Bill Parcells. To watch a guy like Parcells manage Keyshawn Johnson was a thing of beauty. How did that 1st rounder go from malcontent to thoroughbred warrior? Because Parcells managed him. Parcells knew how to get the most out of his alphas. He set the bar high, gave them touches on offense (or in the case of LT, latitude on defense) and demanded they deliver on Sunday. It was not THAT complicated.
With Shockey, he was asked by Hufnagel, Gilbride and Coughlin to block. And that is why you hear the stories of how he is a malcontent in the huddle, tugging on Eli, get me the ball, get me the ball. NO F’G SH*T he wanted the ball! He deserved it because he was one of the most potent offensive players in the league, yet he’d go games without more than a few receptions. Good coaches coach to their personnel. God gives you WRs, you throw to your WRs. God gives you a RB in 1970, you run him. God gives you a RB in 2011, you hand him the ball AND you throw the ball to him. And if God gives you a Pro Bowl TE, you get that Pro Bowl TE the ball. You play the hand you are dealt.
You think that maybe Shockey wouldn’t be tugging on Eli’s jersey if the coaches were willing to have him in the gameplan?! You think maybe Shockey would be less of a problem if his coaches were feeding him the ball in the red zone, where his skills would be in even greater demand?!
The reason why Shockey was dysfunctional was because the coaches were dysfunctional. I remember games where a few of the WRs would be sidelined with injuries, and all of a sudden TE Shockey would explode with oodles of catches for 100+ yards. Gilbride had no choice but to get the TE the ball, and shock-ey of shocks-ey, the passing game flourished through the TE. Surprise surprise Sergeant Carter! We always wondered aloud- why make Shockey block 1 player when he could take 2 into coverage?!!! It made no sense then. It still makes no sense now (when I think back to those days).
Shockey is now well past his prime. His body is a shell of what it used to be. We won’t bother talking about the waste on that front again.
Amani Toomer can badmouth the 2007 Shockey all he wants. He, as always, is 100% accurate in what he says. By that point in 2007, absolutely, Shockey was a problem and Eli did not need that. But Shockey did not come into the league a problem. Toomer testified to that as well. The progression from “ultimate professional” to “distraction in the huddle” happened because his tremendous talents were underutilized. That his behavior devolved was a reminder that genes still need environment. What a waste.