Giants Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 12:55 am and is filed under Football, Giants Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The fat bellies and big heads of defending champions. The loss of Michael Strahan to retirement. The likelihood of David Tyree catching another pass with his helmet.

The New York Giants were going to have a hard enough time defending their Super Bowl crown as it was. Now Big Blue has lost arguably its best player to a knee injury. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora is gone for the season, and with it, so are the hopes of the Giants repeating.

To win a Super Bowl, a team must be dominant in at least one regard. For the Giants, the pass rush was their only dominant unit last year — and Umenyiora was at the center of it. The 26-year-old had a team-best 13 sacks on a squad that led the league with 53. Take those away, along with Strahan (nine sacks last season), and the sack attack starts to look very average. The Giants also lost Kawika Mitchell (4.5 sacks in 2007) to free agency.

Justin Tuck (10 sacks in 2007) now becomes the team’s top pass rusher, though his success is sure to decline with the loss of two of the game’s best ends, creating a trickle-down effect through the entire defense that will expose New York’s sub-par secondary.

The options for Umenyiora’s replacement — veteran free agents Renaldo Wynn and second-year pro Dave Tollefson — are certainly nothing to get excited about. The most sensible move would be to shift strongside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka back to end, his natural position. 

Don’t hold your breath for Strahan to return, either. The guy has his ring and a new broadcasting deal with Fox.

It seems the Giants used up all their positive juju during their amazing Super Bowl run last year. Without Umenyiora, it’s hard to see the 2008 Giants as much more than a .500 ballclub.

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