The 2013 NFL season was a tumultuous season for the New York “Football” Giants. Eli Manning regressed tremendously, the running game was non-existent, constant turnovers on offense, consistent miscommunication between Manning and the wide receiver, he offensive line couldn’t block for Manning, the defense couldn’t pressure the quarterback, the linebackers couldn’t tackle and the secondary couldn’t cover anyone. This team isn’t that far off in terms of winning the NFC East, but the roster needs upgrading with good quality players and good quality depth.
This is a crucial off-season for GM Jerry Reese, he can’t keep ignoring the LB position and the corner position. He can’t keep shooting for pass rushers almost every year in the draft. So let’s take an in depth look at how to put the Giants back on top in the NFC East.
Quarterback Position: Eli Manning had the worst season of his career in my eyes. His play on the field was dreadful. He looked like a rookie in the pocket and ended up throwing 27 interceptions. Manning carries a high cap figure and needs to restructure his ridiculously overpaid contract to give the Giants some cap space. But we all know this is Manning’s team and he isn’t going anywhere.
Running Back Position: This position doesn’t have a clear cut starter and needs a durable productive running back tandem badly. The days of a one back 30 plus carries a game system are pretty much over unless you have a superstar stud like Adrian Peterson. Andre Brown is decent at best when healthy. I am not sure his legs are going to hold up much longer after all the injuries he has sustained to that area. David Wilson had a terrible 2013 season and was placed on IR due to a severe neck injury. The jury is still out on Wilson. This upcoming season is a make or break year for Wilson.
Free agents to consider: The Giants should look at signing Raiders Rashard Jennings, Texans Ben Tate or Packers James Starks.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Position: It’s a shame that this is the best position on the team and ended up disappointing in the worst way. You would expect more from Nicks in a contract year, but he struggles with inconsistency, work ethic and couldn’t separate from corners. Cruz had the injury bug and opposing defenses were double teaming him. Rueben Randle looked like he was going to have a breakout year but fizzled and was inconsistent. Jernigan finally stepped up at the end of the season and showed he can contribute when he gets an opportunity.
The Giants have been lacking a solid TE since Jeremy Shockey left which seems like ages ago. Shockey wasn’t consistent but knew how to get open and Manning knew where he would be. But this past season Manning struggled with getting on the same page with Brandon Myers. Myers had a breakout season the year before in Oakland, but struggled mightily when he came to New York. Myers has decent hands but is a terrible blocker/ The Giants need a good blocking TE, but also vertical threat TE something Myers isn’t. The Giants were hoping that player was Adrian Robinson whose NFL career has been marred by injuries. This upcoming season is it for him, either he produces or gets cut.
Free agents to consider: The Giants need a big receiver, we all know Manning loves to throw the ball high and expects his receivers to go up and get it. Eric Decker would be a good option as well as drafting TE Eric Ebron from UNC. Ebron can make plays down the field and can be the explosive TE that the Giants desperately need. James Jones would also be a good free agent pickup.
Offensive Line Position: What use to be the team’s strength for years is now the team’s major weakness. I’m sorry fans you can let me have it for saying this but the Giants should of never let C Shaun O’Hara go, I know he was up in age and was battling injuries but he was rock solid at the C position. I never been a fan of Bass, he is always injury prone and not strong at the point of attack. Jerry Reese, man come on now you need to start doing your homework more, you know better than giving LT Beatty all that money after a couple solid seasons. Beatty looked like a bust all of last year, he sure wasn’t the Beatty of 2012 who kept Manning’s blind side clean for majority of the season. Beatty needs to start practicing or training how to handle speed rushers until training camp. Seriously, each week, he struggled so bad getting beat by speed rushers. Hopefully Snee who use to be the team’s best lineman can take a pay cut and come back healthy. Pugh, was our best lineman last season. He got better as the season went on. Pugh should have a solid NFL career. Boothe, we all know is versatile and is familiar with our offense and plays hard. He is mauler, that’s about it. Brewer, well let’s just say I have no comment, ok buddy!
Free agents to consider: The Giants need guards badly. Geoff Schwartz or Jon Asmoah both from the Chiefs would be good additions. Gabe Jackson in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft would be a good pickup. I say let Beatty play one more year as a starter. Let’s see if he can come back hungry. Roger Saffold from the Rams would also be a good pickup.
Defensive Line: Once I heard JPP in the off-season of last year was expecting to have back surgery I knew it was a wrap for the defensive line. Back surgery is a major surgery and no player can back from it in the same year and expect to be dominant. JPP struggled all season and clearly wasn’t himself, only recording 2 sacks. Tuck, struggled earlier in the year and finally kicked it in gear towards the last few games of the season recording 11 deceiving sacks. Jenkins was good against the run and decent as a rusher. The rookie Moore produced more on special teams than as a rusher. Joseph was the defensive line’s MVP. Kiwanuka had a down year and seemed to have more personal fouls than sacks. Hankins showed he can be solid against the run. Patterson added quality depth and performed adequately when called upon.
Free agents to consider: The Giants could use some good young depth in the later round of the draft. If JPP is fully 100% healthy then this line should be good. The team needs to somehow lock up Joseph. Tuck will probably leave which means the Giants could bring in Bengals DE Michael Johnson who excels against the run. Bears Henry Melton or Packers B.J. Raji would be solid pickups if Joseph leaves.
Linebacker Position: For years this is a position that the Giants love to ignore and feel they can get by with marginal players. The Giants got lucky last season when the made the middle of the year trade for former Panthers LB Jon Beason who was a beast for the Giants. Beason led the team in tackles. His strong play helped the Giants finish the season on a high note. But Beason is now a free agent and the team has made it known that they want to resign him. Paysinger was solid and played hard. The Giants placed a restricted tender on him this off-season. Williams excels in coverage and that’s it. He needs to get stronger. Rivers needs to be cut, and really doesn’t add any good value to the Giants defense.
Free agents to consider: Wesley Woodyard would be a great pickup and an upgrade over Rivers or Williams. Spikes would be a good pickup. He excels against the run. The Giants could add depth in the draft at the OLB and MLb spots.
Cornerback/Safety position: The only true starter is Amukamara who had his best season as a pro last year and was fully healthy for a full season. It was about time the Giants voided Webster’s contract. He should have been cut last year. McBride is a journeyman but played well in Webster’s old spot. Thomas finally played a full injury free season but looked like he lost a step. Hosley needs to stay healthy.
The safety tandem of Hill/Rolle can be one of the league’s best if Hill can stay out of trouble. Hill is a ballhawk and has great vision. Rolle is the leader of the Giants defense. Rolle still plays at a high level. Mundy was a weak link for the Giants defense and seems always a step to slow to the ball. Brown tore his ACL and was lost for the season which hurt the defense because we all know the Giants love to use their 3 man safety look.
Free agents to consider: The Giants need a shutdown or good quality cover corner. The Giants need to look at Verner from the Titans. DRC had his best season as a pro in Denver last year and could be an option for the Giants along with Talib, Thurmond or Munnerlyn.