HC Tom Coughlin tells QB Eli Manning what he needs to know about the '13 Giants.
Before the New York Giants kick off the 2013 season, there's a few things you should know.
Every NFL season has something that makes it unique. For example, this will be the first season that the Baltimore Ravens will play without future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. And if the powder-blue 'Bolts can muster just a single win, it will also be the season in which the San Diego Chargers claim their 400th victory of all time.
The Giants have their own records, milestones and trends to chase in 2013, and you can read about them here. This slideshow will include four things every fan needs to know about the 2013 New York Giants.
Head coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning are going on their 10th season together.
Head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning will be 67 and 32 years old, respectively, when they take the field for the 2013 season, their 10th season together in New York.
In the storied history of the New York Giants, there has never been a head coach-quarterback combination that has lasted 10 seasons, so the relationship between Coughlin and Manning is certainly one of a kind. Through thick and thin, these two men have held down their respective positions for nearly a decade—the ultimate display of NFL-style symbiosis.
It's easy to forget the early days, when Coughlin's drill-sergeant attitude seemed antiquated, and Manning's wildly-inaccurate arm provided little hope for the future. Wins were hard to come by in their first season together, but those memories have been washed away, for the most part, by claiming a pair of Lombardi Trophies.
Together, Manning and Coughlin have turned the Giants franchise into one of the NFL's elite. An end to the duo's historic ride doesn't seem to be in the immediate future either, as both men share an undying passion for winning football games.
Tom Coughlin has had his shortcomings.
Although a recent Super Bowl victory has skewed the perception of New York's postseason success, the truth of the matter is that the Giants have fallen short of playoff contention more often than they've qualified as of late.
If the 2013 Giants follow the recent trend and miss the playoffs, it will mark the fourth time in five seasons that New York has failed to extend its campaign beyond 16 games. The Giants haven't missed four out of five postseasons since the late-1990s, when the team was undergoing a simultaneous transition in leadership at head coach (Dan Reeves to Jim Fassel) and general manager (George Young to Ernie Accorsi).
Since 2008, the Giants haven't fielded a dominant regular-season team. Although they have not finished a season with a losing record during that time, the 10-win, playoff-less 2010 season has been New York's winningest year. Even in 2011, the season in which Big Blue won its most recent Super Bowl, the Giants claimed just nine regular-season victories.
Floating around the .500 mark can sneak a team into the playoffs from time to time, a la 2006 (8-8) and 2011 (9-7). However, as recent seasons have proven, those teams fall short more often than not.
The 2013 Giants must get over the hump of mediocrity and avoid the embarrassment of missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
Will DE Justin Tuck be re-signed after this season?
The 2013 Giants will feature several key players in a contract year. With their futures uncertain, the soon-to-be unrestricted free agents will need to perform at the highest level possible this season.
Their careers—with or without the Giants—depend upon it.
Players like wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, defensive end Justin Tuck, left guard Kevin Boothe and defensive tackle Linval Joseph have been notable contributors for quite some time. These players will need to raise their play in 2013 to an elite level, justifying the multimillion-dollar contracts they will surely be pursuing.
And players like running back Andre Brown and safety Stevie Brown, who are set to become unrestricted free agents in 2014, will need to prove they were not one-hit wonders. In 2013, these players will feel the pressure to replicate the breakout seasons they enjoyed just the year before.
Other players like cornerback Terrell Thomas and linebackers Aaron Curry, Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger will have one last opportunity to make an impact. For these defenders, the 2013 season may be a final chance to prove that they belong in the NFL.
Many of these players will never again suit up with the G-Men after this season. Those who do will need to have an outstanding year in 2013.
RB David Wilson will try to run away with the opportunity presented to him.
For the first time in his career, Eli Manning won't have a running back with at least 30 games of experience to lean on.
Second-year running back David Wilson is projected to be the starter, and Andre Brown will be his backup, as well as the team's short-yardage and goal-line specialist. The two backs have four career starts between them.
With no clear third-stringer to supplement an already inexperienced ground game, Manning could be expected to pick up the slack through the air.
It wouldn't be the first time. In 2011, Manning elevated his play to the next level, making up for a rushing attack that went missing for weeks on end. Assuming his receivers can stay healthy, Manning may need to pick apart opposing defenses through the air when his running backs leave him hanging.
Yet the lightning-quick Wilson and pile-moving Brown make for an intriguing backfield dynamic. If the pair of runners step up to the plate—and a serviceable third back emerges—the Giants have the potential to feature their most dominant rushing game since 2008, when New York compiled over 2,500 yards on the ground.