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ESPN's 5 Things To Watch(Giants)

Mr. P

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Tom Coughlin wants the New York Giants to get back to running the ball. After snapping a seven-year streak by failing to post a 1,000-yard rusher last season, the Giants will start Ahmad Bradshaw, with Brandon Jacobs cast as the change-of-pace back. The two are coming off surgeries in the offseason and are healthy. The Giants' offensive line is determined to return to its dominant form from two seasons ago and provide Eli Manning with a running game again.



The Giants have several players coming back from injuries. Perhaps none is more important than safety Kenny Phillips. Phillips was emerging as a star before needing season-ending microfracture knee surgery after just two games last year. Now the safety is back and determined to prove that he can not only start again but be better playing alongside Antrel Rolle.



The Giants have a lot of question marks on defense, but the biggest is at middle linebacker, where Jonathan Goff will start. The third-year linebacker impressed many in the preseason finale against the Patriots. Now he has to call the plays to stop Carolina's power running game before facing Peyton Manning in Week 2.



Antonio Pierce's departure not only left the Giants with a gaping hole at middle linebacker but it created a leadership void. The captain was the heart and soul of the defense. Now the Giants hope Justin Tuck, who likes to lead more by example, will step up and show some Pierce and Michael Strahan-type leadership skills.



The Giants' special teams have been a major concern for Coughlin throughout the preseason. The Giants lost punter Jeff Feagles to retirement and returner Domenik Hixon to a season-ending knee injury. Now rookie punter Matt Dodge, who replaces a legend, and recently acquired returner Darius Reynaud, who came in the Sage Rosenfels deal with Minnesota, need to step up.



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ESPN finally nailed it for once, pretty much these 5 things will make or break the season for the Giants.


I think the two most concerning are the running game and who is going to be playing in our LB core. I know we have seen that Eli can pick apart a defense and with our young and emerging star WRs in Smith, Nicks, Manningham, Cruz and a healthy TE in Boss we should be able to pass on teams. The only problem I see if that if we become a "pass first team" I don't think we are set up for it this year, if teams go into games thinking "hey we don't need to worry about the running game of the Giants, just shut down Eli and we win" I think we wont be able to make the playoffs which happened last year. Not saying Eli couldn't get it done just like I said we are still a offense built around a run first mentality and that I think is going to be the key for the offense this year.


My second concern is like many here is the LB core, I have no problem with Boley and Bulluck at the weak side and strong side LB spots and will go as far as saying that this is the strongest we have had at those positions in years. The middle does concern me though, Goff did step it up in pre-season and the coaches do seem confident in him but the MLB spot is what the defense thrives on. Who ever is in the spot feeds the D and sets the tone for the game, I hope Goff can fill that role.

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all true- except i don't think tuck wants to be a vocal leader. maybe rolle or boley.



I think Tuck will step up, for two reasons.


1) He's now one of the senior guys on the team.

2) He's healthy.


I'm looking for Tuck to have a Pro-Bowl season this year....he's a class act, and I think it's killing him that the defense became a laughingstock last season.....physically, there was nothing he could do about it....like I said, I think he should have been on IR last season.

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