I bleed blue. Ever since I was a kid, the New York Giants were my life every Sunday during football season. The 2007 Super Bowl season was the highest of highs I have ever experienced, I will never forget that adventure. But last year was the lowest of lows. The defense was embarassing. It was really hard to watch. There is hope though. With a lot of players coming back from injuries and some new Free Agents, the Giants seem to be on the blueprint to sucess for this year. Let's break it down and look at what to expect at each position next year:
Quarterback: Going into his sixth year, Eli Manning had his best statistical season as a pro. One of the few bright spots on offense last year, Manning proved the passing game was not an issue and managed his way into the Top-10 QB conversation. This year though, the team is hoping to get more out of the running game, but the team hinges on Eli's playmaking ability.
Runningback: Last year, the running game between Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw fell in comparision to the top rushing attack in 2008. Bradshaw to his credit played the whole year with two broken feet and is one of the hardest-working RB's in football and is greatly underrated. I am expecting a strong year out of him now that he is fully healthy. Jacobs on the other hand needs to get back to his bulldozering ways. He is not a nimble back who can wait behind the line, he needs to run people over. If he can do this, I see no reason as to why this won't be a top 5 running team.
Offensive Line: The unit of David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee, and Kareem McKenzie has been one of the most cohesive units over the last five years. The only major injury concern is McKenzie's back problems the last few years, but the Giants drafted Uconn Tackle William Betty to step up in place of one of the tackles in the next few years. The O-Line needs to strengthen its pass-protection and give Eli more time in the pocket. Eli does not do well when he is pressured and the line must protect him. With most of these guys in the primes of their careers, they should have a solid season again.
Tight End: If you watched Kevin Boss last year, you wonder how is this guy still alive? He took more bone-crushing hits to the head in one season then I've ever seen in my life. This guy is tough as nails but the concussions might be a concern. He is an excellent pass-catching TE and runs very crisp routes. He needs to work on his blocking because Giants TE's are essential for blocking in the running game. 2nd year player Travis Beckum hopefully will contribute some more this season. I didn't get to see much out of him last year but he seems to have plenty of potential.
Wide Receiver: I saved the best for last because this position has me psyched. This time last season I along with most Giants fans had no idea what to expect from this group. Well, flash forward to this year and they exceeded all expectations. Steve Smith became the next Wes Welker. Hakeem Nicks made you feel he could score a Touchdown every time he touches the ball, and Mario Manningham made every catch a breath-taking highlight catch. All three receivers share one very important trait that the Giants haven't had in a long time: yards after catch. Before with Toomer and Plaxico they would just catch the ball and get hit. But now with these guys, a touchdown can happen at any time. I really am excited with this unit and expect big things from them. Hakeem Nicks will be a star in this league. The only negative was the preseason injury to Domenik Hixon. He was a great returner for the team and was great in 4 Wr Sets. It's possible Manningham or perhaps Sinorice Moss will play returning duties.
Offensive Outlook: The most important thing this team needs to do is re-establish the running game. Last year the team did not wear down the opponents' defenses in typical Giant fashion. With a re-established running game comes the use of playaction with a deadly group of receivers. If the O-line and running game go back to the ways they were, this offense will be deadly next year and for a long time.