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New York Giants: 5 Questions Left Unanswered After Week 1

Steven GoldsteinContributor IJune 10, 2016

New York Giants: 5 Questions Left Unanswered After Week 1

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    It was a rough start to the season for the New York Giants, who fell on the wrong side of a 24-17 clash with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday night.

    The defending Super Bowl champs took a while to find their stride on offense and failed to slow Tony Romo and the high-flying Dallas passing game.

    While it's still early, a bevy of important questions linger around the G-Men. Tom Coughlin and company will need to find the answers as a Sunday bout with Tampa Bay rolls closer.

    Check out five unanswered questions from Week 1's loss, and what to look for as Week 2 approaches.

Can a Depleted Giants' Secondary Keep It Together?

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    Big Blue was torched along the outside all night long by Dallas wideouts Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree and Miles Austin.

    After ranking a paltry 29th in total pass defense last season, the Giants allowed Tony Romo to complete 22-of-29 passes for three scores and nearly 300 yards.

    Albeit, New York was a bit short-handed at cornerback. 2011 first-rounder Prince Amukamara was shelved with a high ankle sprain, and his replacement, fifth-year veteran Michael Coe, came up injured in the fourth quarter.

    But, much to the chagrin of Giants fans, it was No. 1 corner Corey Webster who had the most pronounced struggles on Wednesday night. Webster allowed most of Bryant's 85 yards, and was gassed on a 40-yard touchdown to Ogletree in the third quarter.

    Free safety Antrel Rolle and fourth-string DB Justin Tryon didn't fare much better against Ogletree either.

    The Giants are 23rd in pass defense after Week 1 and will need to allay their problems in the secondary before things get out of hand.


    What to Watch for on Sunday

    Amukamara might slither into the starting lineup for Week 2, giving New York a much-needed touch-up on the outside.

    But all eyes should be on Corey Webster, who will line up against former Pro Bowl WR Vincent Jackson.

Who Will Emerge as the No. 3 Wideout?

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    After bumbling through much of Wednesday's game, the Giants' passing attack found its stride in the fourth quarter.

    Still, New York lacks a definitive third wideout. Standouts Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks man the starting spots, but neither Domenik Hixon nor rookie Rueben Randle were able to make a big impact in the slot.

    Randle went without a catch in his NFL debut, and aside from a 39-yard burst, Hixon was kept in check. Both Nicks and Cruz had sloppy starts, and the lack of another receiving option was costly for Big Blue.


    What to Watch for on Sunday

    The Bucs allowed 291 passing yards to Cam Newton and the Panthers last week, after ranking 21st in pass defense a year ago. The Giants will look to exploit Tampa's inexperienced D all afternoon, and both Randle and Hixon should see ample throws.

    See if one of these receivers can be a difference-maker on Sunday.

What Is RB David Wilson's Role in the Offense?

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    Touted first-round rookie RB David Wilson was expected to be an effective weapon for the G-Men from the get-go.

    On Wednesday, however, Wilson took just two carries for four yards and was charged with a first-quarter fumble. He didn't see a single snap in the second half.

    Chalk it up to opening-night jitters, or figure that starter Ahmad Bradshaw (17 carries for 78 yards) was running effectively, but Wilson's Week 1 could portend a disappointing rookie season. The Giants offense was saddled with the league's worst rushing attack in 2011, and Wilson's emergence is key for an oft-injured Bradshaw in 2012.

    Wilson's elusive moves and natural athleticism make him a good change-of-pace back and an explosive option in the screen game. His lack of opportunity and production in Week 1 certainly didn't help the Giants.


    What to Watch for on Sunday

    The Buccaneers' front seven is nothing to write home about, and the Giants will look to test the run after averaging 4.3 yards a carry on Wednesday. Wilson should see more time in a game with ostensibly less pressure surrounding it.

    Keep an eye on Wilson's Week 2 workload.

Is There Any Hope for the Giants' O-Line?

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    After a woebegone preseason, the Giants' offensive line had a rough first game.

    The guards failed to get a push for the interior running game, and Eli Manning took five QB hits and three sacks. Right tackle David Diehl had a particularly troublesome opener, ending up being responsible for both of DeMarcus Ware's sacks.

    Giants fans have been weary of this O-line for months now, and Wednesday's performance wasn't too assuring. The good news lies on the left side, where fill-in tackle Sean Locklear was New York's best blocker. Locklear sprung Ahmad Bradshaw for his third-quarter touchdown, and his left side didn't allow a sack all game.

    Still, the Giants struggled in the middle and on the right side. Things will need to get better up front as Big Blue is set to face six of 2011's top-10 ranked pass rushes.


    What to Watch for on Sunday

    The Giants get a breather against a subpar Tampa Bay defense, and Sunday is a great time to establish a rhythm and find some confidence on the line.

    Keep an eye on how the Giants backs run between the guards and see how the pass blocking holds up on Diehl's right side.

What Can Be Expected from the Kick Returners?

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    The Giants failed to return a kick or a punt for a touchdown last season, ranking 20th in the NFL in kick return average and 29th in punt return average.

    It was the same story for New York on Wednesday. The Giants averaged just 20 yards on five kick returns, with one Andre Brown return going for just seven yards.

    New York boasts strong legs in kicker Lawrence Tynes and punter Steve Weatherford, but the tepid return game has really brought down the special teams unit. To fully win the field-position battle, Domenik Hixon, David Wilson and Andre Brown need to turn out better performances.


    What to Watch for on Sunday

    The Giants will look to assuage their return woes on Sunday. If the G-Men stall on offense at first, like they did against the Cowboys, they will need to edge the Bucs in field position.

    See if the Giants can't bust one deep in Week 2.

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