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NY Giants defensive tackle Jay Alford improving under mentoring of Osi Umenyiora


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NY Giants defensive tackle Jay Alford improving under mentoring of Osi Umenyiora

 

by Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger

Thursday August 06, 2009, 9:52 PM

 

Giants defensive tackle and Orange native Jay Alford is improving, thanks in large part to the help of defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jay Alford doesn't like coffee.

 

"I hate it," he said. "But I like the smell of it."

 

Allow us to explain: Alford doesn't like real coffee -- the kind grown from beans. And when he says he likes the smell of it, that's a reference to what Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters at training camp Thursday: He believes Alford "smells the coffee."

 

In other words, it's time for the third-year defensive tackle to wake up and realize his opportunity to be a consistent NFL performer.

 

"He knows he's got a heck of a chance," Coughlin said of the Orange native, whom the Giants drafted in the third round in 2007. "He's been around. He's been in multiple roles and he's done them both very well. He and Osi (Umenyiora) are good friends who work a lot together, and that's helped Jay along."

 

Umenyiora has been more than a friend to Alford. He has been a mentor as well.

In the offseason, Alford flew to Atlanta to work out with the Giants' two-time Pro Bowl defensive end. Umenyiora shared his exercise regimen and even a very big tip.

 

For years now, Umenyiora has been hiding a secret to figure out how to get a jump off the snap. There's something upon which he keys that is a nearly flawless indicator of when the play is coming. It's what allows him to start moving out of his three-point stance while the other 21 players on the field are still motionless.

 

Umenyiora has perfected the art, giving an already fast, agile player a head start against a left tackle.

 

Frankly, it's almost unfair sometimes.

 

"The secret is in the eyes," was all Umenyiora would say about the key, though he added: "It's pretty sweet."

 

Alford has been working with Umenyiora on his quickness off the ball. The visual key has helped him shoot into the backfield numerous times so far this camp, including twice Thursday morning for what would have been sacks in a live game.

 

But unlike his mentor, Alford hasn't quite mastered the art of knowing exactly when the snap is coming, so he has jumped offside three or four times in six practices.

 

"That's the difference," Umenyiora said. "He's not a vet yet. He has to perfect it."

 

Said Alford, "I'm still trying to pick it up. But when it's not offsides, it's amazing."

 

Alford didn't just work on his starts this offseason. He also tweaked his pass-rush moves by working against veteran backup Tutan Reyes, who also trained with Umenyiora. Alford's quick moves have been apparent since he helped clinch the Super Bowl XLII victory over the Patriots with a sack of Tom Brady on the final drive.

 

"He's been a guy who has been very quick and very noticeable," Coughlin said of Alford in camp so far. "He's very athletic, very quick, very mobile. He chases from behind and makes plays."

 

Even against the Giants' starting offensive line.

 

With Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield and Rocky Bernard all nursing injuries, Alford has been the starter at tackle alongside free-agent addition Chris Canty. Robbins is recovering from serious knee surgery, but Cofield is practicing once per day while Bernard is expected to return shortly. So Alford's chance to prove he deserves playing time is now.

 

Alford was worried he wouldn't get that chance back in March when the Giants signed Canty and Bernard. In fact, the former third-round pick was shocked when he was browsing the Giants' website on the first weekend of free agency and saw they had added two players at his position.

 

Alford immediately texted Cofield and Robbins, asking them if they thought he was on the way out.

 

"They told me, 'Jay, you know you really can't control stuff like that,'" Alford said. "But I was like, 'Can't I talk to someone (in the front office)?' 'No you can't. You can't do anything. It's out of your hands. Just go out there and play ball.'"

 

Alford realizes that now.

 

"It took a while. I can't lie," he said. "But you just have to go out there and play football. It's a challenge; you just have to meet that challenge."

 

And smell the coffee.

 

Source: The Star-Ledger

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I've always kind of thought Jay Alford should be starting over Fred Robbins these days. Robbins has been quite serviceable and downright nasty for us over the years but he isn't getting younger...

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I've always kind of thought Jay Alford should be starting over Fred Robbins these days. Robbins has been quite serviceable and downright nasty for us over the years but he isn't getting younger...

 

 

i couldnt disagree more, i like alford but robbins is still a step above, robbins if healthy is very good.

 

 

has put up probowl type numbers before.

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i couldnt disagree more, i like alford but robbins is still a step above, robbins if healthy is very good.

 

 

has put up probowl type numbers before.

 

Yeah Robbins is still a hell of a DT and better then Alford at this point, although Alford is making a strong case for himself in the DT rotation. I just love the fact that we have such great depth at the D-line, not to many teams have four starting quality DTs in Robbins/Cofield/Alford/Canty.

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i couldnt disagree more, i like alford but robbins is still a step above, robbins if healthy is very good.

 

 

has put up probowl type numbers before.

 

How do you know? He gets hardly any playing time, when Alford's in, he makes big plays. Robbins is 32 and not going to get any better with age.

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How do you know? He gets hardly any playing time, when Alford's in, he makes big plays. Robbins is 32 and not going to get any better with age.

 

 

well i know when he is healthy robbins is capable of putting up probowl type numbers. which to me is better than what i think alford will put up. i guess id know just the way youd know enough to think alford should be starting over robbins

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Yeah Robbins is still a hell of a DT and better then Alford at this point, although Alford is making a strong case for himself in the DT rotation. I just love the fact that we have such great depth at the D-line, not to many teams have four starting quality DTs in Robbins/Cofield/Alford/Canty.

 

 

dont forget bernard, he could start on alot of nfl teams.

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well i know when he is healthy robbins is capable of putting up probowl type numbers. which to me is better than what i think alford will put up. i guess id know just the way youd know enough to think alford should be starting over robbins

 

Yes, the oft injured Fred Robbins has put up Pro Bowl numbers. Aside from 04 and 05, he's really been nothing special. He's been more than serviceable but it's time to let Alford and Canty into that starting roto.

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Yes, the oft injured Fred Robbins has put up Pro Bowl numbers. Aside from 04 and 05, he's really been nothing special. He's been more than serviceable but it's time to let Alford and Canty into that starting roto.

 

I would actually rate both Robbins and Cofield over Alford at the moment. If Robbins is %100 at the beginning of the season the starters will be Robbins and Canty with Cofield/Bernard/Alford on rotation.

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speaking of robbins, hes been removed from the pup list.

 

 

 

and i read this:

 

 

Wondering how the Giants are going to get all their defensive linemen on the field this season? Well, apparently defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has come up with one creative way. He lined them up in a 5-1-5 alignment at practice today, with DE Justin Tuck as the nose tackle, Jay Alford and Barry Cofield flanking him at tackle, and Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora at the ends.

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/giants/2009/08/robbins-off-pup-ready-to-go.html#ixzz0NjeNqgS9

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I would actually rate both Robbins and Cofield over Alford at the moment. If Robbins is %100 at the beginning of the season the starters will be Robbins and Canty with Cofield/Bernard/Alford on rotation.

 

I'm just saying, there's few players that make such an impact for the small amount of playing time they do get as Alford...

 

And I like the sound of the 5-1-5...it gets rid of our slow ass linebackers...as long as pierce isn't that 1 LB, but I bet he probably is...

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I'm just saying, there's few players that make such an impact for the small amount of playing time they do get as Alford...

 

And I like the sound of the 5-1-5...it gets rid of our slow ass linebackers...as long as pierce isn't that 1 LB, but I bet he probably is...

 

Oh Alford is a good DT, I mean when we drafted him it made me scratch my head thinking "Hey we drafted Cofield the year before why do we need another DT" but then his college video/stats came up and he lead the DTs in his division or something in sacks. So it was Reese following the tradition of you can never have enough pass rushers. I mean he did do well when he got to play but in reality every single guy we rotated in be it Tollefson or Alford did well (same number of sacks), which I think is a credit to our D-line as a whole. I do think we should always use him on a third down passing situation, Tuck/Osi/Alford/Canty or even Kiwi on every third down is just scary.

 

I thought about the 5-1-5 thing before but I think Webster/Ross aren't physical enough to take on all the pressure on the edges, you need to have physical corners who can get off the WR and into the backfield on plays to the outside. I could see us using it though on potential third downs if you have Tuck/Kiwi/Canty/Alford/Osi you have alot of different options of rushing/dropping players, just not something as a base D.

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Oh Alford is a good DT, I mean when we drafted him it made me scratch my head thinking "Hey we drafted Cofield the year before why do we need another DT" but then his college video/stats came up and he lead the DTs in his division or something in sacks. So it was Reese following the tradition of you can never have enough pass rushers. I mean he did do well when he got to play but in reality every single guy we rotated in be it Tollefson or Alford did well (same number of sacks), which I think is a credit to our D-line as a whole. I do think we should always use him on a third down passing situation, Tuck/Osi/Alford/Canty or even Kiwi on every third down is just scary.

 

I thought about the 5-1-5 thing before but I think Webster/Ross aren't physical enough to take on all the pressure on the edges, you need to have physical corners who can get off the WR and into the backfield on plays to the outside. I could see us using it though on potential third downs if you have Tuck/Kiwi/Canty/Alford/Osi you have alot of different options of rushing/dropping players, just not something as a base D.

 

Yah, I was also really impressed with Tollefson, for a guy I had never heard of, he was making plays whenever he was in.

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How do you know? He gets hardly any playing time, when Alford's in, he makes big plays. Robbins is 32 and not going to get any better with age.

 

Alford has a bit of develping to do and Robbins has more than earned his spot in the rotation.

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Alford has a bit of develping to do and Robbins has more than earned his spot in the rotation.

 

I understand, but Robbins is 32, physically beat and battered, and will only continue to be injury prone...it's time to let a young gun step in or you're wasting a draft pick.

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I understand, but Robbins is 32, physically beat and battered, and will only continue to be injury prone...it's time to let a young gun step in or you're wasting a draft pick.

 

 

if player A is playing better than player B i want player A out on the field.

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But player B is the future and needs experience...

 

But player B gets experience with the almost constant rotation we have on the D-line, not to mention Cofield is better then Alford and is going to be taken Robbins spot :P

 

I think people dont realize this but the Giants D-line is almost like no other, we literally have multiple starters at each position. DT we have five who could start on almost any team, Robbins, Cofield, Bernard, Canty, Alford. We have four DEs who could start on any team in Tuck/Osi/Kiwi/Canty and a up and comer in Maurice Evans who has impressed the hell out of the coaches all during camp, not to mention Tollefson.

 

Think of it this way our "starters" on the D-line only start for the first series, then after that they almost get rotated in and out every 4-5 plays.

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But player B gets experience with the almost constant rotation we have on the D-line, not to mention Cofield is better then Alford and is going to be taken Robbins spot :P

 

I think people dont realize this but the Giants D-line is almost like no other, we literally have multiple starters at each position. DT we have five who could start on almost any team, Robbins, Cofield, Bernard, Canty, Alford. We have four DEs who could start on any team in Tuck/Osi/Kiwi/Canty and a up and comer in Maurice Evans who has impressed the hell out of the coaches all during camp, not to mention Tollefson.

 

Think of it this way our "starters" on the D-line only start for the first series, then after that they almost get rotated in and out every 4-5 plays.

thats true, good point, its a good problem to have.

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I don't really see Alford taking Robbins spot. Alford has been good but I just don't see him as a full time starter. Robbins has been solid since we signed him but unfortunately he is starting to wear down and we're probably never going to see the player he used to be. Under Coughlin, the Giants have become absolutely amazing in the trenches and they will continue to be so for years to come with the way this team has been aggressive at finding talent in the draft and recognizing it in free agency and going after it.

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I understand, but Robbins is 32, physically beat and battered, and will only continue to be injury prone...it's time to let a young gun step in or you're wasting a draft pick.

 

And I understand that.. we all get old. But so long as Robbins is producing at high level, no need to move him. Personally I think the D-Line collectively make every individual player on that unit better. Having a superb rotation hammers opposing OLs. The result is all DLinmen get a piece of the cake.. and shine.

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