How can the offensive line improve?
Amidst their improbable playoff run, the Giants' o-line broke down, allowing 11 sacks and 29 quarterback hits in four games. A promising 2012 could be clouded by suspect run and pass blocking.
Right tackle David Diehl will be eyed closely. Diehl spent time at left guard and left tackle last season, and was arrested for driving while intoxicated back in June. His position flexibility is invaluable, but he has struggled with inconsistency his entire career. He'll be called upon to allay one of New York's glaring problem spots.
Elsewhere, center David Baas gears up for his first full season in Giants blue, and the left side of the line, comprised of tackle Will Beatty and guard Kevin Boothe, will look to improve upon a shoddy 2011.
What can be expected of Terrell Thomas?
Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas (pictured) was one of the game's budding young stars before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a 2011 preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
After missing all of last year, Thomas returns to New York's secondary, looking to provide the hard-nosed, pugnacious style of play that fans fell in love with. The jury is still out on what can be expected from the five-year pro.
If he can seamlessly return to form, the G-Men enjoy greater flexibility in the secondary and find themselves with a top-notch playmaker. If not, they'll have to struggle to find a suitable corner to go alongside Corey Webster.
Where does David Wilson figure into the backfield?
As bruising 'back Brandon Jacobs skips town for the San Francisco 49ers, the Giants' running game loses a lot of its culture. Now, with Ahmad Bradshaw at the helm, things will look inevitably different. Perhaps this is for the better--the G-Men were relegated to dead-last in the league in total rushing and yards per carry last season.
First round pick David Wilson from Virginia Tech figures to be involved in New York's potent offense. In 2011, Wilson averaged nearly six yards a carry and hit the end zone 10 times. How many carries will he get as a second-stringer? Will his college production translate to the pro level?
If Wilson can step up for the Giants, it opens up Bradshaw's game along the edge, as well as play action for Eli Manning and the passing attack. Wilson should see serious playing time in the preseason.
Can breakout players duplicate their successes?
Much of New York's thrilling 2012 was propelled by the sudden ascent of two young stars--wideout Victor Cruz, who notched nine scores and over 1,500 receiving yards, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who garnered Defensive Player of the Year talk with 16.5 sacks. Fans will be eager to see if Cruz can reprise his performance in the slot, and if Pierre-Paul can continue to be a lethal threat on the edge.
Interestingly enough, both players line up where talent is stockpiled. Should Cruz fail, Hakeem Nicks and rookie Rueben Randle wait in the wings. Should Pierre-Paul fail, ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are still in place. Regardless, their production is crucial to New York's quest for a second consecutive ring. Cruz' 3.03 win probability ranked third for NFL receivers; Pierre-Paul's 2.7 ranked first for ends.
Can Martellus Bennett improve the tight end spot?
Since the departure of former Giant Kevin Boss in 2011, Big Blue has struggled to find a legitimate tight end presence. New York hauled in Martellus Bennett from Dallas this offseason, and he's already prompted some unfavorable rumblings before even taking the field.
Eli Manning's fantastic 2011 season came without a true mid-level tight end. If Bennett can emerge and give Manning another target, watch out. If not, the G-Men will have to mix and match to find what works.