After the disappointing end to the 2008 season for the Giants, they look to finish what they had started at the beginning of the 2008 season. Many people blame Plaxico Burress for last seasons letdown, but you can not only look at him for them falling apart down the stretch.
Yes, he did have a great deal to do with it because opposing teams were now able to load eight or even nine men in the box, but it wasn’t only him that took the team down.
The defensive line began to wear down (there is no way that should happen this year, but I’ll get to that later), teams began to expose Antonio Pierce, and once again Easy E became inconsistent.
The Giants on paper for the upcoming season look as strong as ever, but it's not what's done on paper that fills out the win and loss column at the end of the season.
Many people will agree the Giants were one of the strongest teams throughout the first 13 weeks of the regular season, until the night of Nov. 29, when Plaxico Burress took the “run and shoot”, the “fun n’ gun”, and the “shotgun formation” offense to a whole new level.
Okay enough of that, but with Burress’ playmaking ability he was able to consistently draw double teams.
His numbers might have been down last season, but the numbers were very noticeable when comparing the offenses numbers prior to the “shot heard round the world part two” and afterwards.
The Giants did just fine after losing Tiki Barber, then everyone was worried about the loss of Jeremy Shockey, and look how that turned out. Tom Coughlin runs a tight ship and the loss of Plaxico should be no different. But enough looking into the past, this is about the Giants of 2009.
The Giants offseason additions through free agency should shore up the defensive front seven, which is now hands down the best in the NFL. I don’t think that is even arguable.
What team can match the talent level that the Giants defensive front brings? Osi, Tuck, Mathias, and the list goes on and on. The free agent acquisition of Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard should only help matters.
This year the line should not be worn down, and should stay fresh throughout the entire season. Recently, Mike Wauffle, the defensive line coach had this to say about the upcoming season.
“If you watch film of everybody, you see that there is more physical hitting in September than there is at the end of the season. Because guys just get beat up. It is fact. I told the players that if we can do this, if we can remain unselfish, then we can be more durable at the end of the season"
"The plays that you do play, you should be more productive. Those three things—unselfishness, durability and you get a chance to more productive—then it is a good thing. All three of those are good things; positive things. When you are unselfish and a team player—that is what Coach (Tom) Coughlin preaches all of the time.”
The addition of Michael Boley should solidify the linebacking corps as his speed and quickness should be able to cover sideline to sideline. Then help came along in something that we like to call the "NFL DRAFT."
Year in and year out people get excited, myself included, for the biggest spectacle in sports and the only athletic thing that goes on is Roger Goodell walking to the podium, and fans not falling over as they jump up and down for joy in Radio City Music Hall.
Sintim was a standout at the University of Virginia, and the Giants plan to use Sintim in a pass rushing role until he fully grasps the defensive schemes and can become an everydown linebacker.
Antonio Pierce may be a year older now, but don't worry as this savvy veteran still has what it takes to control the Giants defensive assignments. Coaches know they can depend on Pierce to align the defense prior to the snap count of the offense. I know many people say Pierce has lost a step, after being undressed by Brian Westbrook.
Pierce is the perfect fit for this defense, as he is a stout run-stopper and knows his job and the 10 other players on the field. If there is one thing to count on, it's the Giants defense for this year. Big Blue has always been known for the gutsy defense, especially when winter time rolls around in the swirling winds of the Meadowlands.
It's tough to lose when the opposing team scores 0 points, because even then the worst you can do is tie. Take my word for it Giant fans, they will finish in the top three in total defense this coming season.
I would put my first born on the line here, but it's too bad I don't have a first born. But lets just say, that's how confident I am in this defensive squad.
Now to the offensive side of the ball.
Many people still question Eli Manning, even though he has a Superbowl ring and a Superbowl MVP trophy under his belt. I personally, would not want any other quarterback for this Giants team. He is the perfect fit. He gets it done in the clutch, and is the quiet emotional leader that this team needs.
Many fans look to the loss of Plaxico Burress and "Well Dressed" Amani Toomer as the Giants big weakness this coming season. I personally am not worried one bit. Easy E just now has new toys to play with. Kevin Gilbride will be responsible for exploiting other team's weaknesses with the Giants vast array of new offensive weapons.
The reason the Giants struggled down the stretch is because it was too late to implement new plays into the playbook, and teams knew that they no longer had to double team a wide receiver.
Well, this year is different folks, as you can expect a big year from Mario Manningham. That's right, you heard it here first. I'm confident in this former Michigan Wolverine, as he was a playmaker throughout his entire career.
Everyone knows about the Giants running attack, with Brandon Jacobs leading the three or even four headed monster. After that, Ahmad Bradshaw, Danny Ware, and Andre Brown all will be vying for the No. 2 spot behind Jacobs that the recent Derrick Ward left void. If there is one obstacle the Giants have to overcome, it is the injury bug.
Everyone talks about how important it is for the offensive line to work together as one cohesive unit, and the Giants "big uglies" have this down pat, as they've started every game from the past two seasons together.
If the Giants are able to stay healthy, especially on the offensive side of the ball, there is no reason this team should not be in the NFC Championship game, and even the Superbowl. As I said before, Super Bowl or bust for the 2009 New York Football Giants.