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10 Things Giants Preseason Has Shown

By David Syvertsen | September 2nd, 2007


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20061227183922.jpeg Taipei Times


Who says the preseason is boring and pointless? For anyone who knows anything about the NFL (AKA not ESPN), the four preseason games are major factors that lead to decisions that end up making or breaking a team's season. I intently studied each preseason game and these are the 10 things about the 2007 New York Giants I have walked away with.


10. Our RB depth chart looks fantastic


Any Giants fan would have been lying to you if he or she said they weren't nervous about our offense after Tiki Barber handed in his formal retirement papers. Losing a player that has been the basis of your offense for the past 3-4 seasons and leaving behind a RB that has only been a short yardage back would make anyone weary. But we all know what we are getting in Jacobs, a power back that will wear down defenses and bring safeties up into the box. But what we have behind him, most notably Derrick Ward and 7th round draft pick Ahmad Bradshaw appear to be ready for some NFL carries. As much as I am going to enjoy the power run scheme, it will be nice to see them get the rock and change the pace of the ground attack a bit.


9. Spags' new scheme will be fun to watch


The combination of our new scheme and the added team speed, especially within the front 7, will lead to some big plays and a much more fun style of football to watch. Gone are the days of Carlos Emmons literally resembling an oak tree on a Brian Westbrook reverse. Our defensive front is a lot quicker off the ball than I ever thought they were capable of being and they appear ready to show that quickness off. We're going to see guys flying into the backfield and causing disruption which should lead to more turnovers.


8. Steve Smith is the third best WR on this team


Now I'm not knocking Sinorice Moss here, at all. I still love what he brings to the table and I'm confident he is going to make some big plays for us this year. But in terms of our depth chart at WR, Steve Smith resides right under Plax and Toomer. His hands are likely the second best on the team and he is, from what I have seen, the most dynamic and best route runner we have on this offense; and we all know how badly Eli has needed something like that these past few years.




7. Letting Jay Feely walk may have been a mistake


Now most of you know I have been one of the largest supporters of Jerry Reese and the way he took over the ship this year. Many of you went nuts with all of the cuts he dished out, most notably Luke Petitgout (who's back flared up again this summer). Some more of you bashed him for the lack of activity on the booming free agency market that lead to payer after player being overpaid. I stood by his side all year, but the one move I am wishing he made was to re-sign Jay Feely. He was demanding a good amount of money for a kicker, but it was not anything out of this world. He was not a pro-bowler and he never will be, but you know exactly what you are getting out of him and looking at the instability we have had at K this summer, I have to think it would be nice to have #2 back. With this team bound for a bunch of close games this season, you really want that kind of stability at the kicker position.


6. Aaron Ross is not ready to start


Unlike what I said just a few days ago, first rounder Aaron Ross may need to start the season as our nickel back. Now please don't overreacting and calling him a bust yada, yada, yada. I have actually been somewhat impressed with him in the nickel role where he has that extra safety support directly behind him. He just seems to be a little too timid out there for be to feel comfortable putting him on an island with the TO's, Donald Driver's, and Santana Moss' of the world. I'm still confident in his ability to become a starter at some point this season, but just not yet.


5. The defensive line will make or break our defense


Now that the return of #92 has been confirmed, one would be crazy not to label our front four a top 5 unit in the NFL. Strahan and Osi remain one of the top DE duos in the league because yes, they rush the passer exceptionally well and should combine for over 25 sacks. But the thing that makes them special is their ability to stuff the run as well. Osi has clearly taken in the importance of being more than just a pass rusher from Michael, which speaks volumes. Backing them up is a healthy Justin Tuck who, if he can stay on the field, will give us another physical freak that does it all. Throw in one of the more underrated DT duos in the league in Robbins and Cofield and you have to like the chances of these guys causing headaches before, during, and after games. With a susceptible at best secondary, these guys are going to have to get to the QB quick and hard on a consistent basis or else we could be in for a long year.


4. Kevin Gilbride has a plan


This one may seem a little obvious because you'd think any offensive coordinator should walk into every game with a plan. Well, watching last year's game tapes and watching this offense under Gilbride, I can see a huge difference. Gilbride may not be Charlie Weis, but unlike John Hufnagel, he knows how to get Eli into a rhythm early on. Eli seems to benefit greatly when he can start off the game with short passes to everyone and that is exactly what Gilbride calls. Do that and establish the run - then we have a perfect setup for some deep balls down field to Burress and Moss. This group has been amongst the most productive in the NFL the past two seasons with an idiot calling plays. Sky is the limit with a man with a plan calling them now.


3. Our secondary is bad, really bad


No way to put a positive spin on this. We won't face many offenses this year that won't be able to pick apart our secondary if the QB has the time. Our starting CBs week one will likely be Webster and McQuarters who aren't awful, but they don't make plays. McQuarters gets beat deep and Webster can't change direction on short routes. Behind them will be Ross and Dockery to start off and while I like both of their potential down the road, they'll struggle against NFL WRs at the start. Backing our shaky at best CBs are safeties that are prone to giving up the big play. I love Gibril Wilson and I believe he will return to his rookie form this year, but he isn't the greatest cover man in the world. I feel he would thrive in this system if he were playing next to a better cover man but when I look at the prospect of who that is, I want to throw up. I don't see Butler as starting material and the Dahl/Johnson duo backing him up is scary to say the least.


2. The offensive line better stay healthy


I don't think I have felt this unstable about a Giants offensive line for quite some time. The starting five I'm comfortable with, even Diehl at LT. However, if guys start going down on the outside we are D-O-N-E. Guy Whimper, contrary to some that somehow say he had a strong preseason, is still not ready to contribute at either OT position. Yes he has quick feet, but that's about it. I'm a little bit more comfortable with the backups on the inside in Piller and Ruegamer, two proven vets. Koets, well if we see Koets at any point during the season, we won't be winning many games Eli Manning will soon be heading to the injury report. You need to have strong play in the trenches and if our starting five big boys reside on the sidelines on gamedays, we simply won't win.


1. Eli Manning is ready.


My hope for this season has officially been placed in Eli Manning. In the past, I have said that I will wait until the 2008 season to place the destiny of this team on his shoulders, but I'm jumping the gun a bit. In all honesty, I truly believe that he is better suited without Tiki the person on this team. He understands this is his offense, his team now. He looks more confident, more poised out there. Yes, we have concerns on the defensive side of the ball and rightfully so, but I am fully confident in this offense and in particular Eli Manning to put up some big points. As "awkward" and as "comical" as the kid looks sometimes (according to Tiki), Eli is a leader in his own way and is putting this offense on his shoulders. Not to place too much pressure on him, but he is the most vital aspect of the 2007 New York Giants.



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