Giants at the quarter-pole: Assessing where the champs stand

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Assessing the New York Giants one quarter of the way through the 2012 NFL season.

The New York Giants hit the quarter-pole of the 2012 NFL season at 2-2. That is disappointing in some ways because the defending Super Bowl champions has opportunities to beat both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Then again, it took a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Eagles lead the NFC East with their 3-1 mark, while the Giants, Cowboys and Washington Redskins are all 2-2. So, nothing has been decided yet and there is plenty of exciting, crucial football yet to come in 2012.

Things to like

Here are five quick things I have liked about the Giants in the first four games.

  1. The, mostly, improved play of the offensive line from 2011.
  2. The play of defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard.
  3. The running of Andre Brown.
  4. The improved return game. David Wilson's explosive kickoff return work is obvious, but Reuben Randle is also doing a very nice job on punt returns.
  5. The depth of the roster. There are capable fill-ins almost everywhere.

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Things not to like

Here are five things I have not liked about the first four games.

  1. The play of Justin Tuck. He just doesn't look like the same guy who has reached double-digit sacks three times in his career.
  2. The running of Ahmad Bradshaw. He can block. He plays with heart. But, can he still run? The jury is out on that one.
  3. The lack of depth at defensive tackle. This, right now, is the one spot where the Giants don't have enough bodies. Marvin Austin has not looked good. Chris Canty should be back in a few weeks, and he is needed.
  4. Losing to the Eagles and Cowboys. No more needs to be said about that.
  5. The play of Corey Webster. I don't know what the reason is, but Webster doesn't look like the same player he had been the past couple of seasons.

Giants' thoughts

Here are what some of the Giants think of where they are are this point in the season. Especially in regards to being 0-2 in the division.

Tom Coughlin:

"I'm concerned, but we have (four) games to go. You don't expect to be 0-2, but we are. Am I concerned? Sure I'm concerned, naturally."

Eli Manning:

"We're 2-2 right now. It's not the ideal situation, but you could be a lot worse. Philadelphia is 3-1, we're not far out. There's a lot of football to be played. We've still got four more divisional games. It's a lot of football left and we've got to worry about Cleveland and get back to winning and there's no point in getting down now. Everybody knows we're going to see Philadelphia again the last game of the regular season. I have a feeling that's going to be a big game for us."

Ahmad Bradshaw:

"I'm not concerned about anything. We have a great team and we believe in each other and we've been down this road before and it's nothing we can't handle and it's nothing we're not prepared for."

By the numbers

Team

Record: 2-2

Offense: 7th overall (411 yards per game); Passing -- 2nd (321.5 yards per game); Running -- 23rd (92 yards per game, 3.9 yards per carry).

Defense: Yards per game -- 22nd (372.2); Rushing -- 21st (118.2 yards per game); Passing -- 19th (254 yards per game); Sacks -- 18th (8).

Special Teams: Kickoff returns -- 6th (27.2 yards per return); Punt returns -- 19th (9.0 yards per return).

Individual Leaders

Passing: Eli Manning (103-of-160, 1,320 yards, 330 yards per game, 7 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, passer rating 94.3)

Receiving: Victor Cruz (32 catches, 388 yards, 12.1 yards per catch, 2 touchdowns); Martellus Bennett (16 catches, 187 yards, 11.7 yards per catch, 3 touchdowns).

Rushing: Andre Brown (38 carries, 198 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, 3 touchdowns); Ahmad Bradshaw (35 carries, 133 yards, 3.8 yards per carry, 1 touchdown).

Kickoff returns: David Wilson (13 returns, 393 yards, 30.2 yards per return).

Punt returns: Reuben Randle (6 returns, 9.7 yards per return).

Your thoughts? What do you think of the Giants thus far?

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