After playing only a handful of snaps, star DE Osi Umenyiora revealed his frustrations after the Giants lost 41-9 to
the Panthers on Sunday. Will the two-time Pro Bowler and Strahan apprentice remain a New York Giant?
“I couldn’t really explain what I’m feeling right now, disappointment is an understatement,” Umenyiora told reporters. “In everything, the way everything has played out this year has been absolute nonsense, very disappointed, disheartened, discouraged, whatever you want to call it.”
The team started the season 5-0 before unraveling and missing the playoffs. Umenyiora has not started the past four games.
Umenyiora said it was “unbelievable” to him that the Giants would play so poorly in their final game at Giants Stadium.
“I don’t know, man. What did I play, five snaps today? I don’t know, I don’t know what happened. I thought I was the problem. It’s an unbelievable situation, man. Last game at Giants Stadium, probably as a Giant, just the way everything has unfolded has been unbelievable. I never would have dreamt this in a million years, but it is what it is, we live and we learn.”
For the season, he is second only to Justin Tuck in sacks (6 to Tuck’s 7) and is tied with Bryan Kehl to lead the team with two fumble recoveries. Osi missed all of last season with an injury to his left knee. He returned this season about twenty pounds lighter. According to Owner’s Edge, Umenyiora had several arguments with the new Defensive Coordinator, Bill Sheridan, in late August. Sheridan replaced Steve Spagnulo, who took the head coaching job for the St. Louis Rams, who currently hold the worst record in the NFL.
Umenyiora walked out of practice on August 31st. He issued an apology for skipping the Monday practice with the Giants, according to Newsday. He said, “I made a mistake by leaving the facility today. I was wrong. I came in here this afternoon and met with coach Coughlin, coach Sheridan and coach Waufle and apologized and explained why I left the building; that will remain between us. I have no problem with our defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan or any of our coaches. That is the end of it, as far as I am concerned.”
But that may not have been the end of it. Just two years after a 13-sack season, Umenyiora was demoted from starting defensive end to a pass rush specialist. The defense may have had a difficulty with it pass rush late in the season because Osi was not in for every play.
The defense, however, has problems with a weak secondary and an off-and-on rush defense as well. The Giants had played 282 previous games at Giants Stadium, but never had they given up more rushing yards to an opponent than they did to Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart in Sunday’s stadium finale. The entire defense reflected feelings of frustration after the game. Osi concluded his thoughts with the press yesterday feeling like he’d had
“I can’t even sit here and answer any more questions. I’m about to say something that would get me really messed up, so I’m just going to leave now. You guys have a good day.”
It seems like either defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan (and maybe for good measure, defensive line coach Mike Waufle, too) must go, or else Osi will.