Wednesday, August 10, 2011
N.Y. Giants ~ Defections Continue To Alter Team
NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: Steve Smith is just the latest player from the Super Bowl Champs no longer on the roster.
A befuddling pre-season just got more intriguing as defections from Big Blue keep mounting. Another important piece of the 2007 Super Bowl Champions has left to find greener pastures elsewhere. Now Steve Smith has signed with the hated Philadelphia Eagles which reunites him with former Giant and fellow wide-out, Plaxico Burress. Eli Manning's two surest go-to-guys are now gone.
It appeared as if Steve Smith and the Giants were just about to strike a deal; just as it appeared the Giants and Kevin Boss were about to strike a deal to resign. But in both instances, a second team stepped in with more guaranteed money.
All is not lost though. Jerry Reese has stock-piled some depth at Wide Receiver. Injuries plagued the receivers last season. With better health this season, the Receiving Corps. should be alright. Domenick Hixon and Mario Manningham return and while they've proven themselves capable, they need to be better now. Hakeem Nicks is coming into his own and in my opinion should reach "force" status this season...if he can stay healthy that is. That's what the Giants seem to be banking on too. Second year receiver; Victor Cruz; is the x-factor of the bunch and is the one who made Steven Smith expendable. And maybe second year receiver; Duke Calhoon; can find a way to put his 6'2" 200lbs. body to some effective use this season with Smith gone. Losing Kevin Boss is a bigger loss than Steven Smith. So this news isn't devastating to me. It struck me as a surprise though.
However, I'm looking for the Giants to stick with the running game a lot more this season. Coach Coughlin admitted at the conclusion of last season, that perhaps they didn't run Brandon Jacobs as much as they should have, and said they will look to stick with the run attack more consistently in 2011. I think Coach Coughlin and Jerry Reese; along with me; want Coach Gilbride reigned in first and foremost and get him to ease up on the passing game. If that doesn't work, my guess is he gets replaced after the season.
Jerry Reese made resigning Ahmad Bradshaw a priority and asked Brandon Jacobs to restructure his deal so the Giants could get a deal done for Brandon's Little Buddy. Now signed and reunited, they'll have to run behind a rebuilding Offensive Line already encountering troubles. But the Line incurred debilitating injuries last season and still ran effectively and incidentally only permitted Eli to get sacked sixteen times. I think transitioning the O-Line may go smoother than we fear but there's no way a season like Rich Seubert's can be replaced prior to him getting hurt last year.
The bottom line entering this season; and if last season is indeed sticking in Coach Coughlin's mind; is the Giants do not want Eli throwing 25 interceptions again.