This is in order of importance to me. From most important to least important.
Let me know what you think.
I know I’m in the minority here, but I think running back (or more specifically a renewed ability to consistently run the ball especially in the last four minutes of the game) is probably the number one need for the NY Giants this-off season. *cue people calling me dumb for not listing Linebacker first.*
And I think if people think about it they will agree with me, there are a lot of people calling for the return of Plaxico Burress because it made Eli better, which I disgaree with (a different post for another day), but what I think is accurate is that since 2008 the Giants running game has not been as good (pretty bad in 2009, only good vs Bad Teams in 2010) and a Renewed Running game WOULD make Eli better, not a 34 year old Plaxico Burress.
Everyone talks about Bradshaw’s good year, which is true, but what is overlooked is that after the bye week Bradshaw was held under 4.0 yards per carry in 7 of their last 9 games.That does not CUT it.
The Giants need to run better at the end of the season, not much much worse. And this year they were much, much worse towards the end of the season.
Remember in 2008 where the GIants went into Baltimore with one of the best run defenses in the league and just pounded it down their thorats? Or vs the Steelers where they were able to run enough to control the game (not a lot of yards per rush, but enough rush atttempts to make a difference), or vs Carolina where they won by shoving it down their thorats? Or when Jacobs had 136 yards rushing in one game vs the Eagles (the last year we were able to beat them) or time we won vs the Eagles. And Yes by "we" I mean the NY Giants.
And then this year where they went to Philadelphia and couldn't run at all. And then Philly came to NY and they couldn't run it at all. And then they went out to Green Bay and they couldn't run the ball at all.
I don’t think Jacobs will be back, and even if he is he’s going to be 29 years old before the season starts. He was good, in limited time this year, but that does not gurantee he will be good next year. His history indicates that he has not shown an ability to remain healthy all season, even though he did it this season. If the salary cap is lower next season (which seems likely if the owners are threatening a lockout they want to decrease their costs, obviously) will the Giants pay so much for a backup running back?
Maybe D.J. Ware is the answer, but I”m not sure.
I have no problem at all if the Giants draft a talented running back in this year’s draft, and in fact I expect it.
It's either the Offensive LIne or the running backs or both that needs an upgrade.
I tend to think it's a big part running backs because Bradshaw was much less effective in the second half of the season (but the Left side of the offensive line is also a problem in the run game).
Just think about this stat from footballoutsiders.com (and I looked at this After I wrote down CB as the #2 need for the NY Giants)
The Giants Cornerbacks were #2 in the league vs #1 WR (T.T or Cweb)
The Giants were 7th best in the league vs #2 WR (T.T. or Cweb)
The Giants were 31st vs all other WR (the linebackers and the other Cornerbacks.
With their pass rush that is ridiculous. The Giants need some SPEED at cornerback to handle the faster WR in the league and the slot Wide Receivers who have killed them this year.
And I think if there is an injury to Webster or Thomas next yeari it could devastate the season with all of the quality WRs in the N.F.C. East that's why it's so important to me.
No real need for explanation, but IF Sintim can be what the Giants want next year this is much less of a need. Boley isn’t terrible, Goff is pretty good for a two down linebacker.
This is not the #1 need for me and I’ll tell you why.
Linebackers have four major responsibilites as far as I’m concerned.
Covering Tight Ends (#3 in the league)
Covering Running backs (#11 in the league)
Stopping the run (Giants were pretty good at this for MOST of the season), but this could improve. Goff needs to be more consistent and Boley might be better suited not playing as much on first down.
Blitz responsibilites (Boley was good as a blitzer and Goff had some QB pressures as well).
YES, this unit really needs up an upgrade, but I think if the safety play improves next year (no big plays from Phillips and Rolle, especially Rolle) and they get another cornerback who can really cover they should be O.K. at linebacker, hinging on the development of Clint Sintim.
Now, if Sintim is NOT the answer at all, obviously this need gets much bigger.
Goff and Boley are serviceable to me though as of right now.
Yes, the linebackers need to improve for sure, but Goff with another season can improve.
The reason I put linebacker as third and not first is because I personally believe that in a 4-3 that the most important unit is first the defensive line, and then the secondary, and then the linebackers.
Being that the secondary was poor at times this year that requires an upgrade to me as well.
Return Man/Special Teams Ace
The Giants offense has three big problems this year (other than injuries)
Not consistently running the football
Bad field position (a lot of the turnovers from the defense seem to come deep inside their own territory). They didn’t punt return well and they didn’t kick return well.
Hixon is probably going to be a Free Agent (depending on the new C.B.A), but even if he’s not he’s coming back from a leg injury…for a speedy guy (like Osi) that is concerning.
He was an above average to pretty good return guy before, will he be next year? I don’t know. But he’ll be making over a million dollars and the Giants should look in the draft for a dynamic return man that is cheap, in my opinion, and cut their losses with Hixon which is unfortuante, but probably the best move.
I like HIxon but they probably don't want a bigger salary for a player who might not be the same player he once was.
On top of that the Giants WR heading into next season will be:
Nicks, Smith, Manningham, Barden, Cruz, Plax (just kidding), and #6 possibly. Hixon might be that #6, but it also might be a Derek Hagan or another player like Devin Thomas who played well as a gunner at times and has high upside (even as a return man).
Ideally the good special teams player will also be a cornerback who can provide valuable depth.
Kevin Boss is a pretty good all around tight end, but he’s not the best pass catcher. Some people believe that the problem is that he is underutilized by Kevin Gilbride, which I think is only partially true,
My own personal opinion is that he can’t create seperation like many of the tight ends in the league right now.
Footballoutsiders: (if you’re into statistics) rates Kevin Boss as the 32nd best tight end in the league in DYAR (That is defensive-adjust yards above replacement player).
Which means footballoutsiders.com thinks Boss is one of the worst tight ends int he league based on his production of passes thrown in his direction and the results that come from it.
I don’t think Boss is terrible, but I don’t think he’s great either. I think the Giants could really use an upgrade at tight end.
Boss has taken a lot of big hits (in large part because he doesn’t create great seperation, but also because Eli throws high), he’ll need a new contract to keep him and I just think the Giants could use an upgrade at this position.
We fans love Kevin Boss’ work ethic, blue collar play, and clutch performances (he does often play clutch), but if this offense is going to reach another level the Giants could look to upgrade this position (Kyle Rudolph, if he made it to the second round would be amazing).
I like Travis Beckum and think he has the talent to be a producitive N.F.L. player, but I'm not sure that his skill sets will ever fully be utilized by Gilbride and the coaching staff. (Imagine what kind of impact Beckum might have been able to have on the Colts this year once Clark went out).
I don't think I've seen Beckum bobble a catch, or drop a pass which is not something that can be said for any of the other Giants offensive weapons who all have dropsies.
Offensive Line-Youth. Future Center
The Giants have great depth on the offensive line, which was showcased by the play of Koets, Suebert at center, Boothe, Beatty, and Andrews at times, but the Giants need to start getting younger at the offensive line for the future.
Most likely at Right Tackle and a center for the future.
I believe that the Giants will move forward with Koets at center successfully, but if he’s not the option they need to go a different route.
I'm not saying that the Giants need a RT next season, Kareem McKenzie was arguably the best offensive linemen on the team this year and could have been a pro-bowler.
But the replacement is needed for the future.
Defensive Tackle Depth (Unless Coefield returns and maybe even if he does)
If Coefield returns the Giants will have Coefield, Canty, Bernard, Joseph. Tuck/JPP/Kiwi at defensive tackle.
If Coefield leaves the Giants need a defensive tackle in the worst way.
Even if Coefield returns they could possbily use another player.
The Giants might notice like we all did that Canty and Coefield were great in the first half of the season and tailed off in the second half.
Bernard's a fine player, but he's not a young man and he's expensive for a part time player.
Depending on the new C.B.A. or salary cap the Giants might cut bait with Bernard (to keep Coefield) which would leave the position depth a bit thing.
I recognize that the Giants have Linval Joseph who should take on a bigger role, but if there is a player that really falls in the draft (Paea or a Drake Nevis) into the second round the Giants might consider a defensive tackle and I think it'd be a shred move.
Those are the major needs the Giants need in my opinion.
There are others, like punter (possibly), Special Team players (LB depth), safety depth, better coaches, and a new training staff, but the main problems, I think were listed above
Let me know what you guys think and tell me why I'm wrong about the linebackers not being the biggest need if you must