New York Giants: One Burning Question for Every Member of the Roster

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2012

New York Giants: One Burning Question for Every Member of the Roster

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    With the 2012 NFL season fast approaching, it's time to get into the nitty gritty of the New York Giants' roster.

    The offseason and training camp have got us all thinking how the season will pan out and how each player will perform, and better yet, just who's going to make the roster.

    Back in May, I did my best to predict the Giants' roster for this upcoming season, which, with a few alterations, is what I used as the basis for this piece.

    What you're about to delve into is one burning question for each presumed member of the G-Men's 53-man roster.

    Let's go.

Quarterbacks

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    Eli Manning

    Will Manning throw for 5,000 yards this season and be heavily relied on again?

    Given the fact that the Giants' offensive line and running game was in shambles last season, Manning passed for a career-high 4,933 yards and was the focal point of the New York offense.

    The addition of David Wilson and a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw should help the run games and so will having better blockers like Martellus Bennett.

    Manning won't pass for 5,000 yards, but he'll still be the focal point of the offense.

     

    David Carr

    Will he ever see any playing time this season?

    Barring a Manning injury, no.

    And given the fact that the Giants always take unworthy opponents too lightly, there's not a chance of Carr getting into a blowout game because the Giants won't have any blowouts.

Running Backs

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    Ahmad Bradshaw

    Can Bradshaw remain healthy enough to play in all 16 games for the Giants and turn the running game around?

    Giants fans are hoping Bradshaw returns to 2010 form when he did play in all 16 games and rushed for 1,235 yards.

    Now the starter and leader of the Giants run game, I think it's going to be extremely difficult for Bradshaw to remain healthy enough to play in all 16 games, but I do think he's going to have a bounce-back season.

     

    Da’Rel Scott

    Will we have a chance to see Scott's blazing speed this season?

    Scott ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL combine but was given the rock just five times last season.

    He'll undoubtedly have more carries this season, but I think David Wilson sees more time.


    David Wilson

    How will the Giants' first-rounder fare this season?

    In a recent article predicting the Giants' rookies' stats for this season, I wrote that Wilson would rush for somewhere around 700 yards and score six touchdowns, and I'm sticking to it.

    Wilson has the skill to win the backup position behind Bradshaw out of camp, and the Giants love to use a two-headed rushing attack.

     

    D.J. Ware

    What is D.J. Ware's role on the team?

    If Da'Rel Scott proves himself as a worthy RB in camp, Ware is going to be the low man on the totem pole.

    He appeared in all 16 games for the Giants last season but received just 46 carries and averaged 3.5 yards per rush, and both Wilson and Scott have more raw talent.

Full Backs

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    Henry Hynoski

    How many defenders will Hynoski leap over this season?

    I wanted to have a little fun with this question because I'm a big "Hynoceros" fan.

    Hynoski is the last of a dying breed in the NFL, a full back who delivers bone-crushing blocks, pass protection and a threat to catch passes out of the backfield.

    I don't know how many defenders he's going to leap this season, but for now you'll have to settle with the still image above of Hynoski hurdling Dallas Cowboy Terence Newman.

Wide Receivers

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    Hakeem Nicks

    Will Hakeem Nicks' foot be ready for Week 1, and will it hinder him during the season?

    According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York, Hakeem Nicks is on pace to start in the season opener against the Cowboys.

    As for if the injury will be a problem during the season, that's obviously something I can't predict since I'm not a sorcerer, but Giants fans know Nicks and the Giants' staff will do everything in their power to make sure he remains healthy and productive on the field.

     

    Victor Cruz

    Will Victor Cruz mirror his 2011 campaign, or will he fall prey to the sophomore slump?

    It will be extremely difficult for Victor Cruz to put together a season like he did in 2011, but still, I can't see him having a down season either.

    Per my recent predictions, I have Cruz's numbers going down but not significantly. 

    Opposing defenses are going to be more keen on stopping Cruz, but they still have to worry about Nicks and the rest of the Giants offense.

     

    Rueben Randle

    Can the rookie fill the shoes of Mario Manningham and earn the No. 3 WR position?

    Tom Coughlin and the Giants have been pleased with the play of second-round pick Rueben Randle (via ESPN), and there has been a lot of chatter about the rookie seeing significant playing time this season.

    Randle will have his hands full with competition, as there are a number of other wideouts looking to shine and earn that third wide receiver spot.

    It's going to come down to who looks the best during the preseason games, which start this Friday for the G-Men.

     

    Ramses Barden

    Will this finally be the year that Ramses Barden proves his worth, or will he turn out to be a total bust?

    Tom Coughlin made it known that the time is now for Ramses Barden (via ESPN), who has been a disappointment since being drafted.

    The 6'6" wideout should be an easy red zone target, yet he has just 15 receptions and zero touchdowns in three seasons with New York.

    If Barden doesn't make his mark this season, I think it's time to move on.

     

    Domenik Hixon

    Can Domenik Hixon prove that a player can come back from two ACL injuries and still have success?

    Domenik Hixon has never been a great NFL player, but he has proven that he can be a good wideout for the Giants, and you've got to root for a guy who has dealt with so many injuries in his career.

    I think a successful season for Hixon would be playing in all 16 games and putting up similar stats to those of 2008 when he caught 43 balls for 596 yards and two touchdowns.

     

    Jerrel Jernigan

    Will Jerrell Jernigan be returning kicks for the G-Men in 2012?

    According to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk's unofficial depth chart, Jernigan will be returning both punts and kick offs for Big Blue this coming season.

    Jernigan also has a great opportunity to snag the No. 3 wideout spot as well, as Jernigan has also impressed during training camp.

Tight Ends

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    Martellus Bennett

    Will Martellus Bennett's years playing behind Pro Bowler Jason Witten pay dividends for the Giants' offense?

    Martellus Bennett has made a lot of noise since coming to the Giants, but all we as fans care about is if he's going to produce on the field.

    He's known as a run-blocker, but one has to think that he learned a thing or two playing behind Witten in Dallas.

    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Bennett's offensive production this year.

     

    Adrien Robinson

    Is Adrien Robinson really the Jason Pierre-Paul of tight ends?

    At 6'4", 267 lbs., Adrien Robinson is a physical specimen, just like defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is.

    According to Toni Monkovic of The New York Times, Giants GM Jerry Reese sees similarities between the two, which is a good sign for the G-Men.

    Robinson should see a considerable amount of playing time as a rookie with Jake Ballard gone and Travis Beckum still recovering from injury. 

     

    Bear Pascoe

    Where does Bear Pascoe stand on the depth chart?

    Drawing back to Youngmisuk's unofficial depth chart, Pascoe looks to be the No. 1 tight end on the Giants' roster.

    I disagree.

    While he proved to be a solid blocker in the rushing game, I think both Bennett and Robinson have more offensive talent than Pascoe. We already know that Bennett can block—we just need to see what Robinson can do. 

    Pascoe will see a lot of time, but he's not the best tight end in New York.

Offensive Line

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    David Baas (C)

    Will Beatty (T)

    James Brewer (T)

    Sean Locklear (T)

    David Diehl (T)

    Chris Snee (G)

    Kevin Boothe (G)

    Mitch Petrus (G)

    This question goes out to the entire New York Giants' offensive line, since they were so poor last season: Can you get back to playing Giants football and create holes for the running game?

    It was disheartening at times, watching the Giants run the football in 2011.

    The Giants' M.O. has always been a ground-and-pound style, but with the offensive line in shambles, Big Blue wasn't able to effectively run the football last year.

    They finished the season ranked dead last in rushing, at 89.2 YPG, and were often shuffling players along the line in search of the right combination.

    Granted, Bradshaw missed a lot of time with injuries, but no one expected that type of down season from the Giants' rushing department.

    I have to admit, I'm extremely weary of the Giants' offensive line heading into the season.

    Where have they improved?

Defensive Tackles

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    Chris Canty

    Is Chris Canty's starting job on the line with him currently being on the PUP list?

    It's always a possibility that getting injured in the NFL will translate into losing your starting job, but I don't think that will happen to Chris Canty.

    Shaun Rogers is the guy, in my mind, who would step in for Canty while he's recovering from injury, but I can't see Perry Fewell not inserting Canty back into the starting lineup once he's healthy.


    Linval Joseph

    Can Linval Joseph play like he did towards the later portion of the 2011 season all year in 2012? 

    As the season progressed, we saw Linval Joseph getting better week after week.

    He's a pure run-stopper who clogs up the middle, forcing opposing running backs to bounce it to the outside, never getting to the second level.

    Is it a coincidence that Kiwanuka set a career-high in tackles and Boley amassed 93 tackles? 

     

    Marvin Austin

    Is Marvin Austin healthy and finally ready to make some plays on the field?

    A torn pectoral muscle forced Marvin Austin to miss the entire 2011 season after being selected as the No. 52 overall pick of the draft.

    As Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger cites, Austin is healthy and ready to contribute to the Giants' defensive line in 2012.

    Barring a setback, he should see a decent amount of time behind starters Linval Joseph and Chris Canty.

     

    Shaun Rogers

    Does Shaun Rogers look any skinnier to you?

    He doesn't to Justin Tuck.

    According to ESPN, newest Giants DT Shaun Rogers has trimmed down some of his 350-pound frame, but Tuck says he's still big.

    In all seriousness, I thought this was one of the most underrated additions for the Giants this offseason.

    Rogers is going to use his enormous frame to move the pile and take up space, allowing the defensive ends to reach the quarterback.

Defensive Ends

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    Justin Tuck

    Is Justin Tuck declining, or can he be the Justin Tuck of old?

    Maybe it was injuries or maybe it was his lack of focus and dedication during the 2011 offseason (via ESPN), but Justin Tuck wasn't himself last season.

    Tuck admitted that he slacked off last offseason and it showed, as he had just 37 tackles and five sacks in 12 games.

    With Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora alongside him, Tuck looks poised for a big season.

     

    Jason Pierre-Paul

    Will JPP lead the Giants in sacks in 2012?

    He practically led the entire NFL in sacks last season.

    Of course he's going to lead the G-Men in sacks in 2012.

    JPP's team-leading 16.5 sacks were seven and a half more than runner-up Osi Umenyiora's, and the 23-year-old monster proved that he's one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL.

     

    Osi Umenyiora

    Will Osi have a breakout season after sorting out his contract situation?

    I don't think Osi is going to go off this season and put up JPP-type numbers, but I do think he's going to play more relaxed without having to worry about getting paid.

    After all, he averaged a sack per game in 2011 and wasn't even a starter.

    Heads up, opposing quarterbacks.

     

    Justin Trattou and Adrian Tracy

    Who has the better chance of making the roster and backing up Tuck, JPP and Osi?

    Casey Sherman of Giants 101 recently reported that Justin Trattou and Adrian Tracy will be the two guys who compete for the No. 4 spot on the Giants' depth chart at defensive end.

    In my opinion, Trattou has the edge over Tracy because he's a natural defensive end, whereas Tracy is linebacker turned defensive end.

    Trattou had a solid college career at the University of Florida and was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent, giving him that extra hunger to make it.

Linebackers

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    Chase Blackburn

    Can Chase Blackburn carry his 2011 heroics into the starting MLB position this season?

    Blackburn literally went from sitting on his couch to starting for the G-Men in December of 2011, and his play at the linebacker position is one of the many reasons why the Giants are defending Super Bowl champs.

    I mean, he was the only player in Super Bowl XLVI to force a turnover.


    Michael Boley

    Is Michael Boley the best linebacker on the Giants roster?

    In terms of overall skill at the linebacker position, I believe Boley is the best the Giants have.

    He's an every-down linebacker who excels at getting into the backfield and disrupting the quarterback.

    Boley's speed and athleticism make him capable of keeping up with receivers in the passing game, which helps to make him the best all around LB on the G-Men.

     

    Mathias Kiwanuka

    Is Mathias Kiwanuka better served as a defensive end or a linebacker?

    In my opinion, and I think most Giants fans will agree, Kiwi is at his best when lined up along the defensive end.

    Whether he's at the LB or DE position, Kiwanuka is better at getting after the QB and tackling ball-carriers than he is in pass coverage.

     

    Greg Jones

    What was a bigger moment for Greg Jones: winning Super Bowl XLVI or proposing to his girlfriend moments later?

    All in all, it was one hell of a day for the Giants' rookie.

    But billions of men propose to their girlfriends; only a select few can call themselves Super Bowl champs.

    I think you know where I'm going with this.

    Sorry, ladies.

     

    Keith Rivers

    Can Keith Rivers stay healthy and be a contributor to the Giants' defense?

    Rivers missed the entire 2011 season due to lingering effects of offseason wrist surgery and was never healthy enough to play in all 16 games for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008-2011. 

    I think it's a stretch to expect Rivers to play in all 16 games for the G-Men this season, but Rivers is a veteran linebacker who knows how to play the game.

    I think he'll impress in 2012.

     

    Jacquian Williams

    Is Jacquian Williams the reason the New York Giants reached Super Bowl XLVI?

    Let me take you back to the NFC Championship game, where Jacquian Williams stripped San Francisco 49ers return man Kyle Williams, which lead to a Giants recovery and 24-yard game-winning field goal to send them to Super Bowl XLVI.

    But to say that Williams is the sole reason why New York made it all the way to Indianapolis would be crazy.

    I'm sure Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Jason Pierre-Paul would have something to say about that.

     

    Mark Herzlich

    Does Herzlich have a chance of starting at MLB over Chase Blackburn?

    In short: yes.

    Herzlich has practiced with the first-team defense this preseason and has more athleticism than Blackburn, as Alex Raskin of CBS Sports writes.

Cornerbacks

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    Corey Webster

    Where does Corey Webster rank among the NFL's top cornerbacks?

    Corey Webster has been the Giants' No. 1 corner for a few seasons now and has been extremely productive.

    Apparently our own Matt Miller agrees, because he ranked Webster No. 24 on his list of the top 100 corners in the NFL.

    He's easily the Giants' best corner and has earned respect around the NFL as well.

     

    Prince Amukamara

    Will a full offseason of training camp and preseason games have Prince Amukamara ready for a breakout season?

    Only time will tell if Amukamara is ready to step up for the Giants, but given the injury to Terrell Thomas, New York will be counting on the sophomore corner back.

    As Jim Corbett of USA Today reports, Amukamara has been working with the first-team defense in training camp and looks—at least as of now—to be the starter across from Webster.

     

    Terrell Thomas

    How much time will Terrell Thomas miss after reinjuring his ACL?

    Terrell Thomas has had his knee operated on twice, so the last thing he needed was a third.

    That's why it was great news when ESPN reported that Thomas would not require surgery, instead opting to rehab his knee with intentions of returning this season. 

    There hasn't been any official word of when Thomas will return, but I did hear on the radio today a timetable of four to six weeks. Again, this is unofficial.

     

    Jayron Hosley

    What type of impact will the Giants' third-rounder have in 2012?

    With no set timetable for Terrell Thomas' return, the need for depth at corner back becomes all the more important for the Giants.

    ESPN's NFC East blogger Dan Graziano suggests that Hosley could make an impact in nickel packages for New York, while I predicted that the rookie would settle in behind Webster, Thomas and Amukamara on the depth chart.

    Giants fans may also see Hosley returning kicks as a member of special teams.


    Bruce Johnson and Michael Coe

    Can Bruce Johnson and Michael Coe return from 2011 season-ending injuries to provide the Giants with depth at the corner position this season?

    Johnson is returning from a ruptured achilles suffered during training camp last season, while Coe is back from a shoulder injury that occurred against the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-November.

    With Terrell Thomas probably missing some time and Prince Amukamara still being unproven, I like Johnson and Coe to step up and really help Big Blue in pass coverage.

Safeties

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    Antrel Rolle

    Is Antrel Rolle willing to play the cornerback position again this season?

    Rolle stepped up big for the Giants during their Super Bowl run, switching between corner and safety, and mainly playing CB in nickel and dime packages.

    It appears he may be forced to do it again, with Terrell Thomas slated to miss some time.

    According to Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News, Rolle has no problem with playing corner, and is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help out the team.

     

    Kenny Phillips

    Was Kenny Phillips bored playing safety for the G-Men last season?

    As Tom Rock of News Day reports, Giants safety Kenny Phillips feels he was too far from the action last season, often playing in deep territory.

    The injury to Terrell Thomas for the entire 2011 season forced Phillips to play deeper last season, and that seems to be happening again this year, as Thomas reinjured his knee and Sash is suspended for the first four games.

    I think Phillips was being dramatic by saying he was bored. What he means is that he wants to play closer to the line of scrimmage where he can make game-changing plays.

     

    Tyler Sash

    Is the sophomore safety a clean player or did he use Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)?

    The entire Giants organization is upset with the NFL's suspension of safety Tyler Sash, and rightly so.

    Sash tested positive for a PED, to which he claims was a prescribed medication called Adderall to treat an anxiety condition when making public speeches, according to ESPN.

    The Giants have a legit beef here, as the same exact scenario occurred with running back Andre Brown, who took Adderall, and was originally suspended until the NFL rescinded its suspension after Brown appealed it.

    Clearly this has been a misunderstanding before, so I believe that Sash is a clean player and has been wronged by the NFL.

     

    Will Hill

    Can Will Hill redeem himself and be the player he was projected to be out of college?

    Will Hill was destined for the NFL until he violated team rules and used his Twitter account to rave about marijuana, sex with prostitutes and a number of other red flags, according to NJ.com.

    After seeing no interest from any of the 32 teams in the NFL, Jerry Reese decided to give Hill a chance at redemption, and he's taking advantage of it.

    As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York cites, Hill has been seeing action as the No. 3 safety in camp and appears to be in line to see playing time this season.

Kickers

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    Steve Weatherford

    Is the Giants' punter really as good as he showed us in 2011, especially the playoffs?

    Yes, and he proved that he can step up in big situations, judging by what he did during the Giants' Super Bowl run.

    Oh, and not only is Weatherford a solid punter, but he's also pretty funny too.

     

    Lawrence Tynes

    How many field goals will Lawrence Tynes miss in 2012?

    Since joining the Giants in 2007, Tynes has never missed more than five field goals in a season, and the year that he did was the same season that he attempted the most as a Giants (32).

    Tynes was 27-32 in 2009, 19-23 in 2010 and 19-24 last season, so I'm going to say that he shanks four field goals this season.

Long Snapper

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    Zak DeOssie

    Just how much do the Giants like long snapper Zak DeOssie?

    Apparently a lot, because they signed him to a three-year extension following Super Bowl XLVI (via NJ.com).

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