Giants Rumors & News
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New York City just came out of a five day heat wave, the Yankees head to Boston for a showdown series, the Mets are battling the Phillies for first place and the Olympics are around the corner. Is it really time for football?

Yes boys and girls, NFL training camps open this week. Two-a-days, quarterback battles, rookie holdouts and more Brett Favre talk than you can shake the proverbial stick at. But in New York the football focus is on the New York Giants. They are some how in possession of the Vince Lombardi trophy. Yup, it really did happen. So while Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin, and company are playing with house money going into this season-not even the most die hard fan thought the Giants had a Superbowl run in them last season-expectations have been raised. Throw in the Jeremy Shockey trade, Michael Strahan’s retirement and an absolutely loaded NFC East and it’s clear that the Giants need a productive training camp to have a successful season.  In order to be Superbowl winners again there are 3 concerns the Giants must address.

1. The secondary (again). It seems like going into every season the Giants have questions about their secondary. This season is no different where second year pro Aaron Ross is the only clear cut starter. The other three starting spots plus the nickel and dime positions are up for grabs. It’s an ecclectic mix of defensive backs competing for playing time, from the very young ( rookie Kenny Philips, second year safety Michael Johnson), to the young veterans ( fourth year players Corey Webster and James Butler) to the ancient (Sam Madison, Sammy Knight and R.W. McQuarters all have over 10 years of experience). It will be imperative for Tom Coughlin and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to find the right mix before the season begins.

2. Replace Shockey’s production. Cutting ties with Jeremy Shockey was the right move for the Giants, but it did leave a hole in their passing game. For better or worse, Shockey was often Manning’s target on 3rd down and with his departure, there is no clear cut second option in the passing game behind Plaxico Burress.  Armani Toomer played well in the post season but he turns 34 in September and is somewhat inconsistent. After Toomer, all the the other wide receivers and tight ends are unproven. In fact, back-up running back Derrick Ward had more catches last season than any of the reserve wide receivers or tight ends. Steve Smith and Kevin Boss both flashed talent last year but they must make the leap from role player to consistent contributor. Sinorice Moss is injury prone and looking more like a bust every day and Mario Manningham is a rookie.

3. Maintaining the pass rush.  The key to the Giants victory in Superbowl XLII was their relentless pass rush that was spearheaded by the defensive line.  Strahan’s retirement will have a domino effect on the entire defense that could weaken the Big Blue pressure attack.  For now it looks like Justin Tuck will step into the vacated left defensive end spot.  Tuck had a break out season in 2007 with 10 sacks.  However, Tuck got many of his sacks and pressures lined up inside at defensive tackle where he is an athletic mismatch for most offensive guards.  At the end position he will face better athletes and will play more snaps.  Although they may not say so publicly, the Giants coaching staff has to be at least considering moving Mathias Kiwanuka from outside linebacker back to defensive end.  He struggled mightily in coverage at linebacker last season and is at his best when attacking the pocket.  Putting Kiwanuka back on the line of scrimmage would keep Tuck in his “super-sub role” and add experienced depth to the defensive line. 

In defending their title the Giants definitely have their work cut out for them.  However, they do return 10 starters on offense, the majority of the defensive play makers and the confidence gained from being one of the most surprising champions in NFL history.  Now it’s time go to work on the sequel.

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