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How did Michael Strahan turn the corner?

Angel Eyes : 5/21/2023 11:53 am
For those who remember the Giants teams in the 90s:

From what I can see on Michael Strahan, he was a relatively pedestrian 4-3 defensive end for his first few years, averaging 63 tackles and five sacks, not bad numbers per se, but nothing special. Then when Jim Fassel John Fox arrive in 1997, Strahan's production jumps dramatically to averaging 66 tackles and 13 sacks over the five years Fox was in New York. So what changed and allowed Strahan to be one of the best two-way defensive ends of his time? Was it the coaching change? Change in responsibilities as a lineman?
blueblood : 5/21/2023 11:54 am : link
he was healty.
Maybe there was an aha moment, but as a casual fan, I  
Marty in Albany : 5/21/2023 12:16 pm : link
was not aware of it. To me it seemed that with more experience he learned what was needed to rush the passer and at that point, his innate talent allowed him to become a great player. Early on, I thought he might not make the team.
It can be very difficult to get production from  
MNP70 : 5/21/2023 12:17 pm : link
people with talent because they're not challenged correctly. Jeremiah Davis recognized the talent and needed to show the Giants what he saw in the Texas Southern senior. Check out this article. To me, it sounds like MS needed a foot in his ass to get better, and he finally did. I don't think he was fit enough as a younger player. I seem to remember that he tried bulking up one off season and the results on the field did not follow. Trimmed down and got much leaner and man, was he fast coming off the ball. You have to be a special player to go from Texas Southern to the HOF. Kudos to Davis for standing up for him.
Link - ( New Window )
I feel like he just continually progressed  
j_rud : 5/21/2023 12:34 pm : link
Kinda related but the late career weight drop was instrumental in him staying at the top of his game. But I feel like earlier in his career he just developed more slowly than we've become accustomed to today.
Remember it clearly  
NJBlueTuna : 5/21/2023 12:40 pm : link
He decided to slim down and get more ripped. I remember he was visibly significantly leaner and he spoke about that intention going into the season. The results were extraordinary.
Route 9 : 5/21/2023 12:55 pm : link
I remember I started to "notice" him becoming a top guy on the team/elevating his play in 1997.
My Recollection: When Strahan was drafted, Reeves Defense was 4-3  
Ivan15 : 5/21/2023 1:41 pm : link
And Strahan played RDE. He was a very good run stopper but not very good pass rusher. Giants noted this and switched him to LDE so he was playing over the TE. I think that was after Reeves left and I think John Fox became Defensive Coordinator. Strahan’s stats improved quickly. Later, the Giants got Chad Bratzke as a pass rusher opposite Strahan. It was said that if you don’t have 2 good pass rushers, you won’t have one.

Check Strahan’s career stats to see this happen.
I would not be surprised if  
Dave on the UWS : 5/21/2023 2:29 pm : link
Thib's trajectory is somewhat similar. I don't expect an explosion from him, rather getting better and better each year.
He had the rookie blues too  
JerseyCityJoe : 5/21/2023 2:35 pm : link
His second year you could see the lights come on for him. Best part about Strahan he worked on his craft effectively each year. Smart, tough, dependable should have Strahan's picture above it.
Late Bloomer?  
Grey Pilgrim : 5/21/2023 3:18 pm : link
Strahan played only one season of High School football, which was enough for him to get a scholarship offer from Texas Southern University.
developing moves and learning  
nochance : 5/21/2023 4:14 pm : link
The same can be said about Quinnen Williams and Dexter Lawrence. It usually takes a few years for the trench guys
(OL and DL) to show their true potential
Strahan hurt his foot  
Matt in SGS : 5/21/2023 6:37 pm : link
as a rookie and missed about half the season. In playing a 3-4 in 1993, he didn't figure into the rotation much as the Giants liked Hamilton and Fox playing at DE.

In 1994, they went to the 4-3 and he started to get into the rotation more, but he started to show flashes in 1995 and 1996 along with the rest of the defense (Armstead, Sehorn, Sparks, etc). It really was a case where you just had to be patient with him and the others as they got comfortable. Fox stepped into a good situation in 1997 with all these guys getting over their growing pains early on and were ready to dominate.

Also, Strahan didn't really slim down until later in his career, after 2000. He credited Bruce Smith with telling him to do that to extend his career. Strahan looked "puffy" even during his 1st Pro Bowl season in 1997.

Bottom line, it was a slow growth that he showed week after week as the defense started to grow along with him.
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 5/21/2023 6:43 pm : link
Strahan was still a beast when he retired. I wonder if we repeat in 08 if he doesn't call it quits. Remember, Osi tore his ACL that summer.
His first year LT was still on the team, and he was a 3-4 DE  
sb from NYT Forum : 5/21/2023 6:49 pm : link
...he also was hurt, if I remember correctly.

The next year the Giants switched to a 4-3 and he was used more as a pass rusher.

By year 3 he was the best pass rusher on the team.
christian : 5/21/2023 7:00 pm : link
Everything Matt said. I think people forget how outstanding the Giants defense was under Nolan. The 1993 Giants gave up the 13th fewest points in the history of the NFL.

Strahan was hurt as a rookie, and they also had a bunch of talented defensive lineman. At that time Hammer was considered the upcoming star of the team.
Route 9 : 5/22/2023 12:34 am : link
I thought "skinny" Strahan was prior to the 2005 season? He still had that fat head his first year with Coughlin, if I remember it correctly.
RE: ...  
Route 9 : 5/22/2023 12:35 am : link
In comment 16120739 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Strahan was still a beast when he retired. I wonder if we repeat in 08 if he doesn't call it quits. Remember, Osi tore his ACL that summer.

I don't care about 2008 hypotheticals anymore. They won in 2011.
Strahan was a very raw talent and was injured his 1st year  
Rudy5757 : 5/22/2023 1:06 pm : link
Rookies were also though of differently back then. Now rookies are thrown right in, back then they were eased in to develop. Lots of players also need to be put in a position to succeed. Strahan was very upset when they moved him from RDE to LDE at first because the RDE was making the money at that time. It takes more than just talent to be successful at the NFL level. The great ones study the game.
As I remember it was when Chad Bratzke left  
Bubba : 5/22/2023 1:13 pm : link
and they moved Stra from RDE to LDE.
RE: Remember it clearly  
Gatorade Dunk : 5/22/2023 1:22 pm : link
In comment 16120574 NJBlueTuna said:
He decided to slim down and get more ripped. I remember he was visibly significantly leaner and he spoke about that intention going into the season. The results were extraordinary.

I'm pretty sure that happened relatively late in Strahan's career, so one of us (it definitely could be me) doesn't remember it as clearly as we think.
Route 9 : 5/22/2023 2:41 pm : link
So here is Strahan in 2004. Note the 80th year patch. The Giants had this logo on their jerseys and ticket stubs in 2004.
Seems like he still had somewhat of a gut - ( New Window )
Route 9 : 5/22/2023 2:43 pm : link
And here is Strahan in 2005 more "ripped" and slim down ... I guess lol This was in 2005 against the Eagles note the patches for Wellington Mara and Tisch.
Strahan 2005 - ( New Window )
Route 9 : 5/22/2023 2:47 pm : link
What a way to spend my afternoon
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