The Giants are Guarenteed to be in the Super Bowl, or Home for the Holidays
Rejoice Giant fans and be very afraid. For I bring tidings of great joy and reasons to fret. I have the top five reasons the Giants will be contesting for the Lombardi trophy in February of 2010. That being said I also have the top five reasons the Giants will miss the playoffs this year. So with out further ado, here are your reasons to be confident followed by your reasons to be anxious.
Top Five Reasons The Giants Will Make Super Bowl 44
5. Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin is a master motivator and has reinvented himself as a hybrid coach. This little Napoleon of two years ago has transformed himself into a coach who is not only a stern disciplinarian but a players coach at the same time. Giants fans have seen this combination before. His name was Bill Parcells and he won two championships with the coaches version of a duel personality. Parcells was a coach the players both feared and loved and Tom Coughlin is following in those Giant footsteps.
When the time comes to fire a coach, strict coaches are replaced by players coaches while players coaches are replaced by disciplinarians. There are benefits to both types of coaches which is why the Giants are in such good shape. The Giants have, in Tom Coughlin, the best of both worlds. He has demonstrated over the last two years the ability to instill discipline while also gaining loyalty. His ilk are few and far between. Oh, and by the way, he can flat out coach too.
Injuries have become a way of life in the NFL. They can change the dynamic in an instant. The perfect example came less then 15 minutes into last season. When Tom Brady went down with a knee injury, a surefire Super Bowl contender became a borderline playoff team. Over the course of a brutal 17 week season every team, and I mean every team, will have to deal with injuries. That is why shrewd player acquisition is so critical. Jerry Reese has been collecting talent for three years now and the results are astonishing. The Giants have quality depth at almost every position. The Giants have accumulated a stockpile of running backs, young receivers, and defensive linemen. Even the most indispensable Giant, Eli Manning, is backed up by a former number 1 overall pick in David Carr. Injuries will happen and when they do the Giants will be ready.
In this area the Giants have an embarrassment of riches. The Giants have assembled what might be the deepest defensive line of all time. At defensive end they have two potential defensive player of the year candidates in Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck.Look inside and they have 4 starting quality tackles in Fred Robbins, Jay Alford, Barry Cofield and Rocky Bernard. With all the players available versatility will be key, enter Chris Canty, who can play tackle or end, and Mathias Kiwanuka who can play end, tackle, or linebacker. Add Dave Tollefson, the energizer bunny of the group, and you see why there are offensive coordinators all over the league staying up nights trying to do the impossible. Find a way to block them all.
2. Eli Manning
Eli came into his own during the magical run of 2007. During the stretch that started the last day of the regular season to the last drive of Super Bowl 42, he became a franchise quarterback. He may never be Peyton Manning but in some respects Peyton may never become Eli. Eli’s calm demeanor in the face of adversity is unmatched, even by his more famous older brother. He has shown the great skill and ability over the last 2 years and with an entire off season and preseason to work with his new starting receivers he should take that next step to elite status this year.
1. The Running Game
The two things any annalist worth his salt will tell you are critical to winning championships are, 1) Running the ball effectively and 2) Stopping the run. Refer back to reason three about stopping the run. So that brings us to the number one reason the Giants will make the Super Bowl this year, the number one running game in football. The Giants are the new Denver Broncos. They have shown whether it’s Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward or even Ahmad Bradshaw they are ready, willing and able to run the ball effectively. This is a result of three things. They have one of the best run-blocking lines in football. They have stockpiled talented running backs with diverse running styles. And they are committed, every week, to pounding their opponents into submission. With the sledge-hammer, Jacobs, softening up the defense for the elusive Bradshaw and the occasional Danny Ware or Andre Brown thrown in for good measure the Giants running game, like cream, will rise to the top once again.
So there you have it Giants fans. Book your tickets. Reserve your rooms. The Giants are going back to the Super Bowl, or are they?
Top Five Reasons The Giants Will Miss The Playoffs This Year.
5. Unproven receivers
Think back to the shot heard round the world. Plaxico goes down and so do the Giants. Remember the painful lack of production from the supporting cast of receivers. Domenik Hixon was exposed. Steve Smith was over matched. Mario Manningham was invisible. And Sinorice Moss was, well, Sinorice Moss.
4. David Diehl
David Diehl? Never misses a game David Diehl? How could he be such a negative? One glaring weakness. He’s a guard masquerading as a tackle, and a left tackle at that. Don’t get me wrong, I love David Diehl. The guy is money. He comes to work every day. He never even misses a practice. (Ok he missed one practice last year, but I digress.) He gives his all on every play and moved to tackle protecting Eli’s blind side last year without skipping a beat. That being said, I fear that he may eventually get exposed. He has the footwork of a guard. Every time a speed rusher lines up opposite him, Eli is one wrong move from death. The coaches have done a great job of scheming around this but until the G-men get a true left tackle this will be an area of concern.
3. The NFC East
Dallas twice a year. Philadelphia twice a year. Washington twice a year. The Giants play in the toughest division in football. Every year it seems as if one good team in the NFC East misses the playoffs. The Giants can be a very good team and with a couple of bad bounces could still end up on the outside looking in. I believe the Giants are the best team in the best division, but the other teams are good enough that Giants fans can’t take a playoff spot for granted.
2. Eli Manning
Ok, Ok. I know Eli was the number two reason the Giants will be in the Super Bowl, but as every Giants fan knows. There are two Elis and as much as we hope and expect he is primed to take it to the next level, we know there are potential pitfalls as well. Eli is in a transitional year, the question is which way does he transition? If he regresses, even a little bit, it could put Giants Super dreams in peril. Even in the great 2007 run he was fortunate to have mild weather from the regular season ending loss to the Patriots to the other worldly win in the Super Bowl. The Giants have five home games in November and December as well as an away game in Philly. Ask yourself, has Eli ever shown he can beat the weather and the opponent? Not really. Until Giants fans see it, should we really believe?
1. The Running Game.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Strengths can be weakness too? It would be foolhardy to dismiss the loss of Derrick Ward. He wasn’t just a change of pace, he was a starting quality running back. When Brandon Jacobs was hurt or ineffective the Giants had a go to guy on the bench. Remember it wasn’t just Jacobs wearing out the defense for Ahmad Bradshaw’s long runs at the end of games. It was Derrick Ward running by linebackers on pass patterns and laying the lumber on the inside runs as well. Jacobs has never played a whole season, Bradshaw has never played a whole game and Ware and Brown have never really played at all. If one domino falls the wrong way the best running game in the league could falter and falter quickly. Without it the passing game becomes vulnerable and the defense spends too much time on the field and the Giants watch the playoffs from the comfort of their living rooms.
Now that you’ve seen the good and the bad of the 2009 Giants it’s time for you to decide. Will they be playing for the ultimate prize in February or playing the blame game. I believe it will be the former. I think the pieces are in place for a title run and nothing, not even my valid reasons will stop them.