From the desk of: DO IT FOR THE DUKE
NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS: In Eli We Trust, But Hakeem Nicks Must Stay On The Field. He Has Failed To Complete A Sixteen Game NFL Season In His Four Year Career.
One thing about the modern day NFL, there is never very much time to dwell. There is only this season, this week, and right now. As such, six years is an eternity in the NFL, if not the length of many careers. And so Super Bowl XLII is fast becoming ancient history, which would then make Super Bowl XLVI something akin to a bygone golden era. After Big Blue captured that second Lombardi Trophy in four years, missing last year's playoffs was very disappointing to say the least. Then a seemingly endless off-season followed, which featured the departures of two more all-time Giants - two time Super Bowl champions Osi Umenyiora and Ahmad Bradshaw. Time can be cruel.
The 2012 New York Giants either didn't defend very well, didn't score enough points, or both. However, they were far from incapable, which made losing-out so frustrating. Heading into this season, the only thing separating this year's team and last year's is the level of uncertainty. I believe that measure has risen exponentially. With much to prove, it's only appropriate that the 2013 regular season gets hot right away, as the journey to get back to the playoffs starts in big Texas this Sunday night against the rival Dallas Cowboys. Ten wins can top the N.F.C. East this season. The question is, can the New York Football Giants manage that?
It's hard to boil the entire 2013 season down to three guys, but here I go anyway. Not just offensively speaking, the Giants best chances for returning to the playoffs lies in the arm of Eli Manning, getting sustained health out of Hakeem Nicks, and no lingering effects from a foot injury to Victor Cruz. Until we learn more about our competing tight ends, which include the returning Bear Pascoe, Eli won't have that consistent check down option available to him. Eli successfully introduced several relatively anonymous tight ends to the NFL over the last several seasons, but with Martellus Bennett not sticking around, receiver wise, the G-Men may be lacking here. In the backfield, it is David Wilson's time to show what he can do, but he is as yet untested over the course of an NFL season, and we still do not know if he can effectively pick up a blitz. Regardless, with Andre Brown going down, the backfield is severely compromised. After Wilson, Eli looks to be handing the ball off to a bunch of question marks. That's why it is imperative these three stay healthy all season. The probability of that happening? Hakeem Nicks has failed to complete a full season in four years with the Giants.
When Eli, Nicks and Cruz are on the field together, the Giants can light up the scoreboard with any team. If Nicks succumbs to another injury, teams will zero-in on Cruz - too easy. Otherwise, I've had my differences with Coach Gilbride over the years, but he remains one of the most aggressive offensive coordinators in the game. To keep teams honest, he may need a new wrinkle or two up his sleeve, being as he and Eli have been together for ten seasons now. The bottom line is, when the four men are operating on the same wave length, they make things happen.
Both Nicks and Cruz failed to do much practicing this summer. But Week One looks to pose a problem for a great many more reasons than just the passing game.
Coming this week:
The Offensive Line and Running Game