To say it’s been a rough preseason for the New York Giants would be a gross understatement.
With a sizeable chunk of their defensive starters out for the season, Osi Umenyoira’s contract situation (and injury), and losing the majority of their receiving/tight end core in free agency there hasn’t been a lot for Giants fans to cheer for going into the week one opener against Washington.
The number one focus for the season is how the defense will pan out despite so many season-ending injuries to their front line. Players like Jason Pierre-Paul, Michael Boley, Antrel Rolle, and Aaron Ross are among the few healthy starting defenders that will have extra pressure put on their play due to their teammates’ injury woes (Justin Tuck’s status for Sunday is still questionable, but was practicing today). With Washington coming in week one with their questionable offense and Rex Grossman as the starting quarterback, it may be able to boost the Giants’ self-esteem on the defensive end.
Maybe the sight of the lowly Redskins can also get captain Eli Manning and the offense going to start the year. Manning must overcome his interception woes that plagued him last season despite having a career year in touchdowns.
The running tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw will need to be on its game, as well as Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks on the receiving front. I’m curious to see if a young guy like a Victor Cruz can step into a larger role this season after being a smaller role player last season. Cruz could give Manning that other option to throw to if the defenses focus on other receivers.
The special teams performance last season was nothing short of abysmal. Steve Weatherford has been brought in as the team’s starting punter after the team let go of the lowly Matt Dodge during the preseason and has been impressive. Also, the team has found an explosive kick returner in Devin Thomas, but still have a void for the punt returner spot. For the Giants, the special teams can only go up from here.
For Giants fans, it’s felt like they’ve been in panic mode since the NFL returned from the lockout. However, while they may lack the star quality of say the Eagles in the NFC East things aren’t as bad as they seem. They have some really talented hungry players looking to step up that could still make a run at the playoffs.
Predictions will go out the window when the game starts Sunday in Washington.
About the Author
Written by Chris Ryan
Chris Ryan is a Staten Island, NY native who is a graduate of SUNY-Cortland, majoring in sport management. At Cortland, he was the sports editor of the student-run newspaper The Dragon Chronicle for both his junior and senior year. He interned for the sports producer and sports anchor Bruce Beck at WNBC-4 Sports in New York City for their 6:00 and 11:00 news programs. Also, he interned in the summer of 2010 for the New York Jets as a sports writer for their website during their training camp which was shown on HBO's Hard Knocks program. Assignments included writing feature stories that were included on both newyorkjets.com and the Jets Playbook given out to the fans at the game. Most recently, he was a broadcast assistant with the NBA for the 2010-2011 season. Chris is a Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers fan.