Excuse, rhyme and reason have been compiled since January to explain what exactly happened to the New York Giants in 2014. What could have been the cause for a team with a Super Bowl clock hanging on its wall, to start the season 0-6 and finish 7-9?
No matter what justification is believed, the one fact remains: Several simply didn't perform up to par. Be that players, coaches or others within the organization.
As we approach the NFL Draft and 2014 offseason program, we ask YOU who YOU believe is in need of a bounce-back season in 2014? Cast your vote below and leave a comment backing up your claim in the comment section below. Next Saturday, we'll reveal who won via van vote and highlight some of the best comments.
Eli Manning: An easy candidate, Eli Manning suffered through his worst season as a professional since his rookie year. The QB tossed a league-high 27 interceptions, quarterbacked one of the more anemic offenses in the league, was constantly on a different page than his wide receivers and was nearly always on his back. The once "Elite" Eli is now being questioned on if his best days are behind him.
Jason Pierre-Paul: 2011 seems like a far distant memory for JPP. Since registering 16.5 sacks in a breakout sophomore season, Pierre-Paul has managed just 8.5 in the ensuing two years...combined. With Justin Tuck in Oakland, JPP is now the second longest tenured Giant in the locker room. The additions to the secondary are nice, but won't mean anything if Pierre-Paul doesn't return to the JPP of old.
Victor Cruz: Be it the struggles of the offensive line, quarterback or other wide receivers, Victor Cruz wasn't the same salsa-dancing fein he had been in years past. Cruz's numbers seem descent, 73 receptions for 998 yards and four touchdowns, but three of this four scores game in the first game of the season. Of his 998 yards, 51 percent of it came in four games and he failed to record over 70 yards receiving eight times. Sure, the drop off of Hakeem Nicks was a factor, but Cruz wasn't the same Cruz last year.
Offensive line: Easily the biggest disappointment in 2014, the injury-depleted line for New York earned the reputation as one of the leagues' worst last year. The front five paved the way for a dismal 3.5 yards per rushing attempt, allowed Eli Manning to get sacked a total of 34 times and rendered Kevin Gilbride's attacking offense obsolete. The line got an overhaul in the offseason with John Jerry, Geoff Schwartz and others, but will it be enough?
Scouting Department: New York entered into this offseason with 21 unrestricted free agents due largely in part to poor drafts in recent years. When injuries hit the team, there were few capable reserves ready to fill in. Jerry Reese and Co. have their highest draft pick in the GMs career this year, and are in desperate need of a home run as they step up to the plate.
So as we said Giants' fans, who do you feel need the biggest bounce-back year? Is it Manning? Cruz? The O-Line? If you feel it's someone different, feel free to voice your thought in the comment section below.
Polls will remain open until Friday, and on Saturday we'll reveal the top vote getters.