Two years removed from their big Super Bowl win, Big Blue is now entering an off-season of insecurity. Following an 8-8 season (which felt more like 4-12), Giant nation is in turmoil, as every fan begins to doubt the talent of this team.
A defense that was known and respected for its powerful pass rush, that wreaked havoc and rattled any quarterback in this league, even Tom “Mr. Cool” Brady, turned into a defense known for being picked apart by any quarterback, even Kyle “Check-down” Orton.
An offense known for its heavy and bruising running game has turned into a pass-happy one, sporting young and speedy receivers, led by quarterback Manning.
Is this the Giants team every one knows? Can the old Giants smash-mouth type of football once again be displayed? Or an even better question: does it need to?
Looking at what went wrong in a team only two years removed from a Super Bowl win, it is very easy to reach the conclusion that whatever went wrong, it was because some things changed. It is easy to embrace the idea that the Giants just need to go back to old manners.
Nevertheless, the formula to transform this team back into a perennial playoff berth holder may not lie in the scheme utilized in 2007.
Dissecting what was actually positive in the Giants 2009 season, it is not hard to observe that this is almost a totally different team. It is obvious that the New York Giants have changed their playing style, and in a larger picture, they seem to have lost their swagger.
Ever since Eli had his first full season as the starter, Big Blue had been going to the playoffs every year. No matter how the team was playing at one point of the season, they had that swagger, that moxie about them that drove them right into the playoffs.
With the changes that took place over the course of the last couple of seasons (Strahan and Tiki retiring, Spagnuolo leaving, Plaxico going to jail, etc) the Giants are now struggling to find a new personality.
While on offense things may be going in the right way, mostly because of Eli Manning, the defensive side of the ball is literally a mess. As pointed out by owner John Mara, the lack of leadership is astound when it comes to the Giants defense.
This team has never needed to “press the refresh button” more.
There is no point to plan on how to revert back to the old winning swagger. What this team needs to do is embrace its changes, and come into their own as the 2010 New York Giants.
As new leadership takes over in the defense, and the offense takes a step in the direction of becoming one of the most dynamic in the NFL, the players need to embrace the fact that they are not the same team as they were in 2007.
In order to get another Super Bowl ring on their fingers, these Giants need to let go of the mentality set by old personalities like Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber, rising as the new generation of Big Blue warriors, demanding respect from opponents.
There is no time for nostalgia in this league, they need to play with new pride, having their own type of intensity, and, as wisely pointed out by a B/R’s Featured Columnist, show a lot of attitude every time they take the field wearing Giant blue.