5 Reasons New York Giants Fans Should Not Panic Before 2013 Season
The release of three veterans from the New York Giants roster last week has a contingent of fans alarmed. Salary cap concerns and key free-agent decisions are looming this offseason.
The Giants have been down this road before, making it premature to start panicking.
While Big Blue may be keeping an eye on the future as they look for an infusion of youth, there still should be plenty of optimism surrounding their prospects for 2013.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley's release should come as no surprise, given the Giants' recent track record.
Under the tutelage of former general manager Ernie Accorsi, Jerry Reese learned that it's better to release a player a year too soon rather than a year late. Reese heeded this advice by purging veterans just days after the Super Bowl. Regardless of the ultimate result, the Giants figure to be extremely active during this offseason.
Tom Coughlin's team is quite content to once again compete for a title while in transition. Here are five reasons not to panic about the Giants outlook in 2013.
Giants Are Thinking Big Picture
Based on the success the Giants have had in recent NFL drafts, the team has several highly touted players who are approaching free agency. The move to cut salary this offseason by releasing a 1,000-yard rusher and two defensive leaders, was in large part executed to secure the future of rising stars.
The domino effect began last spring with Aaron Ross' departure for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The former 2007 first-round pick saw his rookie contract expire following the 2011 season. The Giants were unable to meet Ross' demands once he hit the open market.
Ross was an integral part of each of the Giants' past two Super Bowls, but his exploits pale in comparison to the next three luminaries the team drafted.
From 2008-'10 the Giants drafted Kenny Phillips, Hakeem Nicks and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Beginning with Phillips this offseason, the Giants will attempt to re-sign each player in the next three years. Having this much success in drafts has been a blessing for New York. The team realizes it would be a curse to throw it all away.
Oh, by the way, undrafted wide receiver Victor Cruz is also looking for a substantial pay raise from the salary he made in 2012.
2013 Will Be a Down Year for NFC East
The fear that Robert Griffin III will torment the NFC East for more than a decade has been quelled for the time being. Torn ligaments in the knee of Washington's dynamic quarterback will reduce the danger and usage of the vaunted read-option offense.
The verve and bounce lost in Washington's offense affords New York time to adjust to its rival's scheme.
While the meteoric rise of a rookie quarterback in our nation's capital had many thinking the worst, the Giants now have an opportunity to gain traction in the division.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have consistently struggled to find an identity on Sundays. Despite their possession of talented personnel, the two teams carry the distinction of being paper champions in recent years.
Since 2008, not a single NFC East team has won more than 11 games in a regular season. In that four-year span, each team has captured the division crown once. In other words, the division is wide open.
A compromised read-option attack in Washington and the toxic cultures surrounding both Dallas and Philadelphia make it plausible to deem the Giants as division favorites in 2013.
This Is Old Hat for Jerry Reese
GM Jerry Reese's track record with replacing coveted veterans is impressive. The Giants organization will hope that trend continues following the release of Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley.
Since the Giants' Super Bowl triumph in 2008, their roster has consistently experienced transformation.
Plaxico Burress' incarceration seemed like a death sentence to the club back in 2009, until Steve Smith shouldered the load. A damaging knee injury eventually led to Smith's departure to Philadelphia, opening the door for a young man by the name of Victor Cruz to capture the spotlight.
The Giants have witnessed a similar sequence of events at most of their positions since Super Bowl XLII (excluding a self-inflicted gunshot wound igniting the process). The tight end position has morphed into an annual turnstile for players to leave for big free-agent contracts.
A common theme for the Giants will once again rear its ugly head as the team attempts to substitute established veterans with unproven youth on the field in 2013.
The Stability Is Still There
Parting company with emotional leaders can understandably cause panic for a fanbase. The best way to offset these losses is by augmenting the presence of other mainstays.
Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin are about to embark on their 10th year together in New York.
The pressure and expectations that come with playing in the Big Apple have helped establish Manning and Coughlin as unwavering leaders in the locker room. Both of these linchpins have navigated through rough waters during their careers and can undoubtedly help guide young players through similar situations.
Despite winning two Super Bowls in nine years, Coughlin has arguably been on the hot seat more often than not. Learning to deal with his own adversity, the Giants' head coach has gone on to help a bevy of players rebound from their struggles.
When Tiki Barber was berated for his fumbling issues, it was Coughlin who helped cure the problem. Coughlin's knack for getting the most out of his players makes him a consummate leader of men.
Players like David Wilson will be ushered into a larger role for New York in 2013. He'd be wise to listen when Manning or Coughlin advise him.
Health Was a Factor
To his credit, Ahmad Bradshaw showed up to play with inspired effort on a weekly basis. Despite always winding up on the injury report, the Giants running back missed only 10 games in six years.
Instead of lamenting the loss of a former fan favorite like Bradshaw, Giants fans should be excited about the future of his backup.
New York has opted to put its faith in the explosive David Wilson this offseason. Wilson showed glimpses of his dynamic playmaking ability during his rookie season and could provide a jolt to a stale Giants running game.
The brutal nature of football inevitably catches up to players. At 26 years of age, Bradshaw has already seen the game take a toll on his physical condition. Chris Canty and Michael Boley have also started to break down as each player has crept over the age of 30.
With a focus on durability, the Giants will continue to turn to their younger players in 2013. Growing pains notwithstanding, fans can expect an exciting brand of football for Big Blue next year.