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  1. #1
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    GIANTS AN ODD SORT OF DEFENDING CHAMPION

    GIANTS AN ODD SORT OF DEFENDING CHAMPION

    "The defending Super Bowl champions get back to work this weekend, as the New
    York Giants
    hold their rookie minicamp in East Rutherford, N.J. Repeating is
    hard work, though, and there are good reasons why only one team this century has
    been able to do it.

    You lose players. You lose coaches. You become the
    No. 1 target for teams that have identified you as the biggest obstacle standing
    in their way of getting what they want. The people who run the Giants, and many
    of the people who play for the Giants, were in this position four years ago, and
    they know all about the challenges that face the defending Super Bowl champs.


    But this year's Giants are not your ordinary defending champ. They were,
    speaking strictly in terms of winning percentage, the weakest Super Bowl
    champion in history. They didn't even secure their playoff spot until the final
    game of the regular season. With two weeks to go, they were 7-7 and in real
    danger of finishing under .500.

    All of these things are facts, just as
    much as the title they won. So as they get back to work this spring and summer,
    the Giants face the seemingly incongruous dual task of maintaining the magic
    that brought them their title while also improving a 9-7 team.

    They have
    some things going for them, and I'm not just talking about Eli
    Manning
    , Hakeem Nicks, Victor
    Cruz
    , Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants run their franchise as one that's
    perpetually in transition.

    Rather than wait for problems to present
    themselves, or roster holes to open, the Giants constantly churn the middle and
    the back end of their roster, developing players in their system so they're
    ready to step in when need arises. There are running backs and wide receivers on
    the roster who have been waiting for the opportunity created by the free-agent
    defections of Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham, and those players will get the chance to do
    what Cruz and Pierre-Paul did last year when presented with similar chances. The
    Giants never allow themselves to get so thin at any one position that they don't
    at least have options for replacing those who leave or get hurt or decide to sit
    out training camp.

    That said, this Giants team does have holes to fill
    and problems to solve. They finished 32nd in the league in rushing offense -- a
    fact that, while mitigated by the improvements the run game showed in December
    and January -- didn't sit well with their running backs and their offensive
    linemen. They will need to get better there, and to do so they'll need Ahmad
    Bradshaw
    's feet to stay healthy for the first time in years. Plus, they must
    find someone to replace the 167 touches and eight touchdowns Jacobs contributed
    to last season's cause.


    They'll
    need to shuffle the offensive line again. While Kareem McKenzie was not what he used to be, he was the starting
    right tackle on a team that won the Super Bowl, and they did not replace him.
    They hope that Will Beatty (a) comes back healthy from his eye injury and (b)
    plays better than he did at left tackle in the first 10 games of last season.


    David Diehl isn't around to slide over and bail him out this
    time. Diehl's got to play right tackle in place of McKenzie. The Giants have
    some offensive linemen they like for the long-term, but this looks like another
    transition year on the line. While they have enough good veterans in place to
    pull it off, that's a tough tightrope act to try too many years in a row.


    They have bodies at linebacker, with Keith
    Rivers
    brought in as a good veteran reinforcement and some of last year's
    promising rookies hopefully ready to take a next step, but they have no clear
    man for the middle. They have bodies at cornerback, but they have question marks
    there, too.

    Corey
    Webster
    was awesome in 2011. Can he repeat that performance? Is Terrell Thomas fully recovered from the preseason knee injury
    that cost him the whole season? Will Prince Amukamara make more of a contribution?

    Don't
    think for a second that GM Jerry Reese isn't concerned. He used each of his
    first three draft picks on positions at which he lost a player in free agency --
    running back (David Wilson for Jacobs), wide receiver (Rueben
    Randle
    for Mario Manningham) and cornerback (Jayron
    Hosley
    for Aaron Ross). And he's smart to be concerned, because while these
    Giants rightfully consider themselves a championship team, they're also a team
    that won one less regular-season game in 2011 than it won in 2010. Had someone
    in the NFC East won 10 and the Giants missed the playoffs, their offseason
    narrative would have been that of a team moving in the wrong direction.


    Instead, the Giants have a two-front problem to solve. They have a
    division and a conference and a league full of teams that saw what they did and
    now consider Super Bowl glory more attainable than ever. And they have an
    internal mandate to be better this year than 9-7, because they know first-hand
    that it's not usually good enough to get you the chance to make a Super Bowl
    run.

    They're capable of doing it, and they'll deservedly enter the
    season among the favorites to win it all again. They have superstars at
    quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end, and in this day and age that can
    carry you a long way. But as far as defending Super Bowl champions go, these
    Giants have more issues than most -- and more work to do."
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1






    # 80

  2. #2
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    Re: GIANTS AN ODD SORT OF DEFENDING CHAMPION

    Good article....I totally agree.

  3. #3

    Re: GIANTS AN ODD SORT OF DEFENDING CHAMPION

    I believe the lockout had more to do with our poor run-game since our line was shuffled with a new center unfamiliar with our system and a RT that was out of gas...That will be significantly different this year. Bradshaw was hurt by foot issues again and Jacobs didn't bring much firepower as he did in years past....Fully explainable why we failed in the run-game. and I believe, reconcilable. If we improve to a top 20 rungame this year, we are going to be sick on offense, barring any other significant injuries. God forbid!

    On defense, the play of our middle linebackers will improve by having a year of experience behind the three 2011 rookies we relied on and the addition of Rivers...therefore I believe Fewell can, and has no excuse but to, get back to rushing 4. We generally produced well with that and it should be relied on more while throwing in different looks here and there to keep offenses nervous!

    We can make the play-offs this season, we just need a major emphasis on conditioning, and keep the injury bug off our backs.

  4. #4

    Re: GIANTS AN ODD SORT OF DEFENDING CHAMPION

    Excellent article.

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