As the season approaches, we will take an in depth look at the defending champions.
Projected starter: Eli Manning
Backup: David Carr
Player to watch: Eli Manning. Isn’t it obvious? The Giants have one the best quarterbacks in the game right now and he is in his prime. Manning is coming off of his second Super Bowl victory and his second Super Bowl MVP performance. Eli Manning is only in his prime and he is getting better. David Carr provides the team with a veteran backup who knows the system and is comfortable backing Manning up. The team likes to carry just two quarterbacks during the season so don’t see them adding anyone else.
Strength: The ability to make players better. Eli Manning has the ability to make everyone around him better. Last year he developed a new third receiver and a new tight end. Manning took charge last offseason and lead practices when there was a lockout. He helped Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard emerge as major contributors on the team. With barely any offensive line help, and no offseason training, Manning was able to amass nearly 5,000 passing yards and lead his team to another Super Bowl victory. This season, Manning has to develop another tight end and another third receiver. After last season there is no reason to doubt that Manning can take a bunch of unknown guys and turn them into super stars.
Weakness: Offensive Line. The one weakness is something Manning can do nothing about. Two seasons ago you could have said Manning could cut down on his interceptions or have a better completion percentage. Manning has said that he wants to work on is cutting down his turnovers this season, but the only thing holding Manning back is his offensive line. This line is once again going to be a shuffle of players and will have some new faces. The line has to protect Manning and make sure that he is not rushed. The line allowed 28 sacks last season, and that is not including any sacks during the playoffs.
Hit or miss: Running game. Once again something Manning cannot control. If the Giants can get the running game going like it did in the playoffs, Manning could actually have a better year than he did last year. Last season, the Giants finished last in rushing. Imagine how much better Manning would be if the running game was effective and scared opponents. If the Giants could run play-action and draw defenders up, Manning could throw for more yards and more touchdowns. Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns last season with the worst running game. With the addition of David Wilson and a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw, Manning might not need to execute as many fourth-quarter comebacks.
About the Author
Written by Matthew Stapleton
Ridgewood, New Jersey