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New York Giants Feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by danielpaulling, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Hello all: I was hoping for some thoughts on my feature below.


    New York Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty walked into the NFL team's film room two years ago and saw himself, from his playing days at Delone Catholic High, on the screen.

    The black-and-white video wasn't flattering. Flaherty was consistently falling down on plays, and the peanut gallery, his players, was enjoying the performance. The critic had become the target.

    "How come you don't stand on your feet here?" one of his players asked, mimicking a critique he had likely heard before.

    Flaherty took the punch lines in good nature. There is, after all, only so much a player can do.

    "I always get the last laugh," he said. "I have the clicker in my hand."

    Flaherty knew the culprit responsible for producing the tape: Shawn Flaherty, his son and a rising senior at St. Joseph High School in Montvale, N.J. He is a center who has drawn interest from NCAA Division I-A and I-AA schools.

    The recruitment comes after Flaherty began playing just three years ago. His father, who also didn't play until high school, didn't want his son to have to lose weight to meet league requirements and was concerned about potential injuries.

    "Some of these guys get caught up in winning and not teaching the right technique," Shawn Flaherty said. "He didn't want me to play for some coach who didn't know the proper form for tackling. In high school, that's when it starts to matter."

    His father's reluctance didn't stop him from begging to play in seventh and eighth grades. He thought other kids were gaining the experience he needed to be good. Pat Flaherty thought his son was learning enough by absorbing the sport from the sidelines as his dad coached at Wake Forest and Iowa before joining the Giants in 2004.

    One practice stood out as a learning experience for Shawn Flaherty. One of his father's players decided to walk back to the huddle, and Pat Flaherty told the player to return to where he was and run back as the entire team watched.

    "I thought it was great," Shawn Flaherty said. "To see him actually do that to an NFL player, a grown man, is crazy. He's always helped me play football the right way. I've been ahead of the game even though I didn't start playing until freshman year."

    He started at center his sophomore year on a team that lost the state championship by one point. Flaherty moved to left tackle his junior season, and St. Joseph won the state title just weeks before the Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17 in the Super Bowl in February.

    "That was," Pat Flaherty said, "really a special feat."

    His job with the Giants beefs up attendance at St. Joseph's games. Several of his players and quarterback Eli Manning have attended.

    Shawn Flaherty remembers being star-struck in fifth grade when meeting them for the first time, but he's moved past it. He works as a ball boy during the Giants' games and helps with pregame kicks and punts. The Giants make sure to ask him how his games are going.

    Quite well, as a matter of fact.

    The time spent analyzing film with his father and watching NFL players practice have helped him reach the cusp of college football. He said he has scholarship offers from about six Division I-A or I-AA schools, but declined to say which.

    His dream is to attend Penn State, but, he said, a coach told him the Nittany Lions were focusing on offensive tackles for his recruiting class. Flaherty hopes to play center or guard in college, the positions that fit best with his 6-foot-2-inch, 270-pound frame.

    St. Joseph coach Tony Karcich - who received help from Pat Flaherty on pass protections when Flaherty coached at Rutgers and Karcich was at another high school - thought that not being a certain height may eliminate Shawn Flaherty from some schools.

    "With that stuff, it's in the eyes of the beholder," Karcich said. "Some (colleges) are hung up on height. Some want everybody to be 300-plus pounds. Some guys are about quickness. Some guys are about strength. It's going to be the right fit with what fits with the offensive line coach.

    "If they look beyond the one, two inches he's lacking, he's got every other intangible. I think he's a student of the game. It all stems from being a good athlete and a bright kid."

    Wherever Shawn Flaherty decides to go, he'll have an NFL coach helping him get there.

    "He's worked his whole life to get to the NFL level," he said. "He coached for 27, 28 years. He's been away from my sister and I and my mom. It's not easy. It panned out in the long run."
  2. My main concern was whether it was too lengthy. I like to explore various topics as they come up in the reporting because I feel that presents a fuller story with deeper reporting, but I don't want to bog it down with too much "fat." How do you tell what's fat and what adds to a story? Thanks for the help.
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