What They Should Be Thinking Today: New York Giants

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 21, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20:  Martellus Bennett #85 of the New York Giants celebrates after he scored a 14-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In an attempt to get inside the heads of NFC East teams, we occasionally take a step back by looking at what each squad should be thinking at any given point. After winning two games in just over 100 hours, here's what should be going through the New York Giants' heads.


That's it for David Diehl

As far as we're concerned, Diehl lost his starting job Thursday night. Yeah, it's tough to do that to a veteran, especially when he's injured, but we were thinking on Monday that injuries can sometimes be a blessing in disguise, and that might have been the case here.

When's the last time our line looked that good? The pass protection was fantastic, and Andre Brown had actual lanes to run through. It was great to see Will Beatty shine on the left side, and Sean Locklear is a natural on the right. 

Beatty, Kevin Boothe, David Baas and Chris Snee gave up a grand total of five hurries, while Locklear surrendered the only hit among starting offensive linemen, via Pro Football Focus (the two sacks were pinned on Brown and backup center Jim Cordle).

Not a single one of our starting O-linemen received a negative grade from PFF, but the eyeball test was enough to reveal how good they were. We'd be crazy to mess with this group now.

Diehl's versatile and experienced and very useful, but he might now officially be an insurance policy only.


Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw will split first-quarter carries

That's all we can guarantee. Beyond that, whichever back is experiencing the most success will likely get the majority of the snaps the rest of the way. As frustrating as this is for fantasy football participants, it's the most prudent strategy for how to deal with two quality backs who deserve playing time.

Eventually, someone might win the job full time, but we owe it to both guys to give each a shot for at least a few weeks.

As for David Wilson, it's good to have depth at this position and shelf lives are miniscule for running backs. Would we still have drafted him if we could do it again? It's too early to start thinking that way, but we'll definitely find a way to utilize his speed and shiftiness where appropriate. And in a year or two, when we might really need him, those legs will be fresh.


It looks like we've found replacements for Jake Ballard, Mario Manningham and Aaron Ross

That didn't take long, but we got confirmation Thursday night that Martellus Bennett is good enough to be our permanent tight end, Ramses Barden can be our No. 3 receiver and Prince Amukamara has the ability to start opposite Corey Webster at cornerback.

It's unbelievable. Bennett and Barden caught 15 of the 17 passes thrown their way, according to PFF. Both are physical freaks of nature who have failed to live up to their dimensions in the past, but Eli Manning is bringing the best out of them now. 

An argument can even be made that the Double B's are upgrades over Ballard and Manningham, which means that our receiving corps could be even more dangerous when Hakeem Nicks returns.

As for Amukamara, he had his best game of his young career against Carolina. He wasn't targeted much—which is a good thing—and he only gave up one catch when he was (per PFF). 

And if Amukamara fails there's always Jayron Hosley, who continues to flash his play-making ability. He missed a couple tackles and was beat a few times against the Panthers, but he also had a big interception and appears to be on the right trajectory. 


We have a chance to start faster this time

Historically, we haven't turned it on and gotten into a Super Bowl groove until December or January. We're not exactly known as fast starters. But maybe we just needed that one weak performance against Dallas to recover. Maybe that was a wake-up call and a hangover cure, all in one.

Because right now, we have a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum. That'll give us a chance to create some space in the playoff race early. 

And considering how well Philadelphia's playing—our next opponent, by the way—we probably wouldn't have been able to afford to wait until December to get hot again.