New York Giants: 5 Reasons Why 2012 Could Be Tom Coughlin's Best Year Yet
Despite speculation of the fiery head coach’s retirement following his second Super Bowl victory at the Giants’ helm, Coughlin put to rest any such talk back in February and does not plan on hanging up his whistle any time soon.
With a talented roster set to return along with the addition of a handful of fresh, young prospects bursting with potential, Coughlin still has a tall task at hand. No team has been able to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots in 2005.
Coughlin and the Giants will seek to do just that, however, which would make them the first NFC team to do so since the 1994 Dallas Cowboys.
Here are five reasons to believe 2012 could be Tom Coughlin’s best year yet.
A Healthy Roster
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With the exception of tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, the New York Giants will open the 2012 campaign with many of their top talent in tip-top shape. Health was a detriment to Big Blue throughout the 2011 season and forced them to make desperate changes to answer their needs.
A healthy roster will ensure continuity across the depth chart while enabling players like Will Beatty, Terrell Thomas, Ahmad Bradshaw and Osi Umenyiora to perform to the best of their abilities.
Each of these players has the ability to be game-changers for the Giants. They are integral pieces to the Giants’ success, and it was evident their presence was missed throughout the season.
Coming off a season that culminated in a Super Bowl triumph despite the mass amount of injuries that riddled the offensive line and secondary unit, Tom Coughlin and the Giants have to be optimistic about a 2012 season that appears to have all of their stars healthy and ready to win.
Talented New Players
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General manager Jerry Reese is an underrated mastermind when it comes to putting together a successful team. This offseason, he addressed many needs while also bolstering key positions heading into 2012.
Tom Coughlin has a plethora of fresh, new talent to work with, including rookies David Wilson, Rueben Randle and Brandon Mosley. Add in free-agent pickup Martellus Bennett to fill the void left by injured tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, and Coughlin’s Giants could have a more lethal offense than they displayed in 2011.
The Giants added many pieces this offseason, and it will be on Coughlin to get the most out of them. Despite the notion that he is one of the least popular coaches amongst NFL players, he has always gotten the most from his players and does a phenomenal job coaching up the Giants’ young rookies.
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The addition of new talent is always a plus, but the most successful teams tend to be those with a veteran presence and continuity among the roster.
Though some holes will surely be filled by newly acquired Giants, Coughlin has the pleasure of having 19 returning starters (nine offensive and 10 defensive) this season. It is not certain all of these players will be starters again in 2012, but their presence on the roster is beneficial nonetheless.
The Giants have a strong core of players who know the way Coughlin works and appear to enjoy playing for him—of course, a Lombardi Trophy always helps.
The return of these players in 2012 is a positive sign for Coughlin and the Giants with only minor changes to concern themselves with this offseason.
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Tom Coughlin thrives on low expectations. In two Super Bowl appearances, he has coached the Giants to successful bids, despite being the popular underdog against the hated New England Patriots on both occasions.
This season, though they are coming off an impressive march to the Lombardi Trophy, the Giants appear to—once again—be overlooked in their chase to successfully defend their championship.
They are a distant hopeful behind the likes of the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens, according to Pregame.com.
But that is just the way the Giants like it, and Coughlin and his players will have no gripes with proving the detractors wrong once again in 2012.
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In 2011, he became "elite."
In 2012, Eli Manning plans to continue with that elite quarterback play while leading Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants in their chase to another Super Bowl victory.
The Giants are faced with a very tough schedule, but Manning is the leader to keep them afloat through that difficult stretch at the end of the season. His ability at the quarterback position keeps the Giants in games each and every week—as evidenced by his record-tying seven fourth-quarter comebacks this past season.
Though the competition will be stiff this season, Coughlin can rely on No. 10 to carry them through.
He stuck with the “elite” quarterback through his most disappointing times, and now, in the prime of Manning’s career, Coughlin, Manning and the Giants are reaping the benefits.
The Giants will undoubtedly face tough times in 2012, but Coughlin has the quarterback to push them to succeed and guide them to what could be the 65-year-old head coach’s best year yet.
Louis Musto is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter here.