The NFL is full of guys who happened to be in the right place at the right time playing in the right system for the right coach. The NFL waiver wire is full of guys who weren’t. Oakland Raiders Safety Matt Giordano has been on the wrong side of the waiver wire multiple times in his career, but his 2011 performance finally solidified his place in the NFL. It’s time for this guy to get some love.
Giordano had five interceptions for the Raiders in 2011.
Giordano was a 1st Team All-Pac10 Safety at Cal, and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors as a senior. He was a 4th round draft pick of the Colts in 2005, and earned a Super Bowl ring in the process. His forced fumble on Chicago Tightend Desmond Clark in the Super Bowl helped end any hopes of a Bears comeback. His career began to slide thereafter, including a 2009 season in Green Bay and a 2010 season in New Orleans that saw him garner five total tackles.
At that point in time, a guy like Matt Giordano generally ends up riding off in the sunset. A vested veteran, cut three times in three years, with the last three years of his career resulting in very little on-field production…generally ends up getting a call from his agent telling him that it’s time to take that long vacation and start planning on that second career.
Had it not been for a hip injury to Safety Hiram Eugene last August, Giordano probably would have been on an island somewhere sipping on mixed drinks and working on his tan. Instead, Giordano was brought in on August 15th and lasted through training camp until being released on September 3rd. He was re-signed to the active roster two days later, and made an immediate impact as he picked off Kyle Orton deep in Oakland territory during the season opening victory in Denver on Monday Night Football.
Giordano played in 15 games for the Raiders in 2011, leading the team with 5 interceptions. Who cares about 5 picks you say? To put that into perspective, the Rams gave Cortland Finnegan a 5-year, $50 million contract with over $20 million fully guaranteed…and Finnegan only has 3 picks in his last 36 games. Adam Jones (formerly known as Pacman) has 5 career interceptions in 5 NFL seasons. Giordano had more picks and more tackles than Baltimore Safety Ed Reed in 2011, and most fans would consider Reed the best safety in football. The high-intensity, oft-injured Bob Sanders snagged a grand total of 6 interceptions in his 8 NFL seasons.
Physically, Giordano is one of the fastest defensive Safeties in the NFL, and he has proven throughout his career that he can offer run support. Despite his physical attributes, Giordano’s NFL career was dead prior to Hiram Eugene’s injury last August. Now, he’s been rewarded with a new contract based on his career year, and he’s now playing for a Head Coach and General Manager that he’s familiar with from his 2009 season in Green Bay.
Finally, it appears that Matt Giordano is in the right place at the right time playing in the right system for the right coach. What more can a veteran player ask for?
Warren McCarty is the founder of My Passion is Football
Follow Warren on Twitter: @mpifradio