This Giants off-season has been hard on the fans. The Giants lost Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and outside of resigning Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t add any skill position players. On defense the amount of injuries has been comical. Gone for the season are Terrell Tomas, Bruce Johnson, Marvin Austin, Clint Sintim and Jonathan Goff. First round pick Prince Amukamara broke his toe and will miss at least five weeks of the season. Osi Umenyiora and his 11.5 sacks will miss somewhere between two and six weeks.
The injury riddled Giants kick off their season Sunday at 4:15 when they take on the Washington Redskins.
Here are the most important matchups to watch for…
ROLB Brian Orakpo Vs. LT William Beatty.
You could really expand this to; the Redskins pass rush vs. the Giants offensive line. The biggest change the Giants made this off-season was swapping out the old for the new along the offensive line. Gone are veterans Rich Seubert (left guard) and Shaun O’Hara (center). Replacing them are David Baas and David Diehl (who slides over from left tackle.) Diehl was drafted as a guard and struggled at times protecting Eli’s blindside. Moving him back to his natural position should benefit him. The man now responsible for keeping Eli clean is William Beatty. Beatty a late second round pick in 2009 has been inconsistent in limited action thus far during his career. Beatty has great feet and athleticism for a tackle but hasn’t shown the strength to move bigger defenders off the line.
Beatty is going to get a stiff test in his first game against emerging elite pass rusher Brian Orakpo, who has 20 sacks in his first 31 NFL games.
Rex Grossman Vs. Blitzes, Lots of Them.
On the other side of the pass rushing spectrum we have Rex Grossman vs. a plethora of blitzes. Despite the Giants injuries, the trio of Tuck, Canty and Pierre-Paul is still one that will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Canty seems to be the forgotten man of the group. Last year his impact was very marginal due to injuries but, don’t forget that it was only two years ago that the Giants gave him a six-year contract worth $42 million.
Expect to see Grossman under pressure early and often.
Ross Redemption? And the Ballad of Victor Cruz.
Aaron Ross went from doghouse (and fourth on the depth chart) to starting corner back. The Giants will need his speed to help matchup with Redskins receivers Santa Moss and Anthony Armstrong. Jake Ballard steps into to replace Kevin Boss. Ballard looked fine as receiver during per-season however where he really needs to step up is in pass protection (Kevin Boss was a very underrated pass blocker.) With Mario Manningham now starting, Victor Cruz needs to do his best Manningham impression and develop into a reliable target that can help stretch the field.
The Giants pass rush overwhelms the Redskins, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham help Big Blue fans forget Steve Smith and Rex Grossman is pulled for John Beck late in the third quarter.
Giants 23, Redskins 10
About the Author
Written by Jason Comack
Jason Comack graduated from Oswego State University. You can hear Jason on 88.1 FM (streaming as well on WCWPSports.org) every Monday and Thursday at 6 PM. Jason covers MMA as well as the New York Giants for Pro Sports Blogging. Follow him on Twitter @J_Comack