Wednesday, January 16, 2013

N.Y. Giants: The Off Season Search For Daylight

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL - Don't Let Big Blue Fool You.  The Running Game Didn't Improve Much.

It's always something.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  When Eli Manning was a wee QB still wet behind the ears, he was protected by the best offensive line in football, and supplemented by the league's number one running game.  Two Super Bowls later, now that Eli is the Mann he plays behind an offensive line that is painstakingly undergoing an overhaul, as well as getting little to no help from a largely non existent running game.

Don't let them fool you.  The Giants protected Eli well enough.  They also improved upon their dreadful 2011 season when they ranked dead last in rushing.  They upped their ranking to 14th in the NFL running the ball this season.  But that could unfortunately make it easy to overlook their real dilemma.  Not only have they have lost their ability to dominate the clock utilizing the run, worse, after Andre Brown went down Big Blue became exceptionally futile in short yardage situations.  Far too often, the Giants settled for field goals because they puttered in the red zone.  If they failed to gain short yardage, then naturally they failed to gain first downs.

Once again Ahmad Bradshaw showed he is a compromised player.  Yet he still posted another 1,000 yard season.  But how much longer can he last before his lower appendages break apart?  Does Jerry Reese plan on bringing Andre Brown back?  Does he even bring Bradshaw back?  Will Coach Coughlin and the Giants feature David Wilson more often in the backfield next season?  Has David Wilson sufficiently learned how to pick up a blitz yet?  The Giants have three uncertain scenarios in their backfield.  For two backs at least, the future seems unclear.  However, I think it is unlikely Jerry Reese uses a top two pick on a running back in the next draft.  So perhaps David Wilson's starting time will be born of necessity.

Up front, the biggest question facing the Offensive Line is what to do about David Diehl.  Let's face it, he's fading fast.  He is clearly not coming off a good, or healthy, two year stretch.  The time has come to replace him, or, move him back to Guard again, which is where he came from.  Tackle is just not his forte.  Although he was far from being a liability, David Diehl just wasn't effective enough.  Sean Locklear was clearly the better Tackle when given playing time.  But as luck would have it, Locklear was felled by a season ending knee injury.

At Right Guard, Chris Snee had himself another good season, but continues to pay a high physical toll.  His time is growing shorter.  And at Center, I still maintain David Baas is undersized.  The left side of the line was manned by Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe.  Individually, I do not have much to gripe about.  But collectively, this line has become very average.  Will Beatty is a pending free agent.

If I had my way, Jerry Reese would be spending a high draft pick on a Center or Tackle.  The Giants need a stud on the line.  And in the mean time, hand the starting Right Tackle position to Sean Locklear assuming he is okay to return.  Then relegate David Diehl to back up Guard.  Re-signing Will Beatty almost seems necessary right now.  The Giants lack depth.  So keep enough money within the cap and see which free agent linemen might possibly fit in.  If Locklear doesn't heal up, the Giants will need to find someone fast.


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