Five Under the Radar Stories At New York Giants Training Camp
The 2009 NFL season is fast approaching, and teams are ready to start preparing.
Two-a-days will determine battles all across the league. Whether it be their starting quarterback, or starting outside linebacker, each team has battles.
The 2007 Super Bowl champion, New York Giants are no different.
Coming off a 12-4 season with a playoff run that ended against Philadelphia, the Giants have a lot of questions to answer.
Who will step up for Plaxico Burress? How will the loss of Steve Spagnuolo effect the defense?
Those questions however are the ones everyone is asking.
But what about the ones no one is talking about? I rank my top five under the radar stories heading into Giants training camp.
No. 5 - Who will be the third running back?
This will probably seem irrelevant, but what if Brandon Jacobs goes down?
Jacobs getting hurt is too real a possibility, and with Derrick Ward soaking in the south Florida sun, the Giants only backup is Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw would step in if Jacobs gets hurt, but with limited playing time in the past, how would he do?
Step in, rookie Andre Brown and bench warmer Danny Ware.
Last season, Ware spent most of the year on the bench but did see limited action in six games. In those six games, Ware had two rushes for 15 yards and reportedly impressed coaches during mini-camp.
Meanwhile, at North Carolina State Andre Brown recorded 523 rushes, 2,539 yards and 22 touchdowns in four years.
My prediction as to what happens is Brown is the third running back, mainly because cutting a fourth round pick is too big a jump. Ware will probably be on the practice squad or on another team.
No. 4 - Who will be Eli Manning's backup?
Another battle that may seem insignificant but just like Jacobs, if Eli goes down, he carries the torch for New York?
Is it former defensive lineman plaything David Carr or former car dealership "employee" Rhett Bomar?
In 2008, as Manning's backup David Carr played in three games, throwing for 115 yards and throwing two touchdowns in 12 passes. His stats from previous seasons' include over 14,000 yards, 62 touchdowns and 262 sacks.
Bomar originally attended Oklahoma before getting booted for getting paid by a car dealership and not working. After transferring to Sam Houston State, he became the school's all-time passing yards leader in two seasons there.
He was also named All-Southland Conference and a Walter Payton Award finalist in 2008.
My prediction is that Carr will get the backup job with Bomar going to number three simply since he's a rookie. After a year, don't be surprised to see Bomar backing up Eli.
No. 3 - Who will start at strong safety?
The Giants' secondary has always been their weakness on defense. But this year the cornerback spot seems strong with Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Kevin Dockery and Terrell Thomas all returning.
The free safety spot even seems to be growing better by the day, with ex-Miami safety Kenny Phillips likely to start there.
However, the strong safety spot is not so secure, and also plays a significant role in stopping the run.
Last season's platooner Michael Johnson is back, but the starter, James Butler, joined Spagnuolo in St. Louis.
Battling Johnson this year is free agent addition and ex-Houston Texan, CC Brown.
In 2008, Johnson played in all 16 games, recording 72 tackles (47 solo) and two interceptions.
The newcomer Brown played in only three games due to injury, but had 15 tackles (12 of them solo) and one interception.
An easier comparison is his 2007 stats, during which he had 84 tackles (64 solo) and one interception.
In my opinion, Brown starts since he appears to have a nose for the ball, but needs to stay healthy.
No. 2 - Will the defensive line stay healthy?
As you all know, Osi Umenyiora injured his knee badly in the preseason, leaving Justin Tuck to take his place.
Tuck didn't disappoint, but did have a number of small and non-lengthy injuries.
The tackles didn't fair too well, either, with both Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield playing with injuries or just being tired.
Kiwanuka is likely to slide back to being the third defensive line and provide some nice depth if injuries happen again.
Also, ex-Cowboy Chris Canty and ex-Seahawk Rocky Bernard joined the team as free agents, and will help both the end and tackle positions.
No. 1 - Did the Giants overpay for Michael Boley?
Didn't we all learn not to hit girls as kids? Well, Boley didn't listen and is now going to be suspended for one game.
On top of the suspension, he underwent hip surgery during the offseason and might miss up to four games.
After signing him for $25 million this offseason, you have to wonder if the Giants knew about the charges and the hip.
If they did, I'll trust in Jerry Reese and the gang that they made the right move.
But until I seem him drilling Brian Westbrook or Tony Romo, there will still be that question mark.