Gone is six-feet, five inches wide receiver. Gone is a defensive mastermind, given a large credit to the win in Super Bowl XLII. Gone, is 'Wind,' a 1,000-yard running back. That's what the New York Giants will be missing when they take the field for the 2009-10 season.
However, they do welcome many fresh faces. Defensive linemen Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard signed this offseason to help boost an already stellar defensive line. The Big Blue also welcomed linebacker Michael Boley and safety C.C. Brown to the defense to add depth as well.
Then there was the NFL draft.
The Giants were a major talk heading into the day. Experts and fans debated whether the Giants should or would trade for a big wide receiver, specifically Braylon Edwards and Anquan Boldin.
Instead Jerry Reese and the G-Men, selected Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina to be the answer of the wide receiver question. Nicks possess great hands—check out the catch against West Virginia in this past Meineke Car Care Bowl—and also has above average speed.
However, there were concerns about Nicks' route-running ability, but the Giants have one of the best in the league on their roster already in Steve Smith. Nicks will be able to learn from him as well as Dominik Hixon.
While, Plax is gone, so is Amani Toomer—commonly known as Eli Manning's safety net.
This is the looming question heading into the season for the Giants. Can Manning go a whole season and be successful without a large receiver in Plaxico and a safety blanket in Toomer. During the offseason, most recently on May 20, Manning said the Giants don't need Plax to win. Considering they went just 1-4 without him last season, there is doubt about that statement.
The other big question looming is the departure of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who left to become the head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
Bill Sheridan, the former linebackers coach is now in control of the defense. While, he and the players say nothing will change on the defensive side the question always looms if he can do what Spagnuolo did.
There's really no reason why he shouldn't be able to. He has more than enough players this season to succeed. The defensive line includes a rotation of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, Canty, Bernard, Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield. The Giants seemed to break down and get tired at the end of the 2008-09 season, which took away their ability to get to the quarterback.
If the players stay true to their words from the offseason the departures should not affect the Giants. I expect them to have another run to the playoffs and be a force in the NFC.
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