Here we go again. The grueling five-and-a-half-month long offseason is coming to an end for all teams, and by this time next week we will be fully ensconced in NFL training camp.
As with every season, there are questions looming with every team, which holds true whether you hoisted the Lombardi Trophy or had the first overall pick in the draft.
For the Giants, most of these questions surface on the defensive side of the ball, which makes sense considering they were just plain awful in 2009. Whether you chalk it up to first-time coordinator Bill Sheridan, injuries, or just lack of talent, the 2010 Big Blue Wrecking Crew is out to prove 2009 was an exception, and not the rule.
In past years, the staple of winning Giants teams has always been the defense. From LT to Jesse Armstead to Antonio Pierce, the linebackers have always been the focal point to those successful defenses.
Which leads me into question No. 1.
1. Who will replace Antonio Pierce at the middle linebacker spot?
Since joining the team, Antonio Pierce was not only a great player, but the vocal and emotional leader of the defense. Many people considered him the “Peyton Manning ” of Big Blue’s defense because of his ability to read offensive formations and place people in better position to make plays.
That kind of football I.Q. is hard to come by, and it’s safe to say the next in line has some big shoes to fill.
At the moment it seems as if the leading candidates are Jonathan Goff, Chase Blackburn , Gerris Wilkinson, and Philip Dillard.
Goff was the starter at the end of the season when Antonio Pierce was ruled out with a neck injury. He has played well and knows the playbook and the team really likes his work ethic and swagger.
Chase Blackburn is another guy who has been around a long time as a backup guy, but with Antonio Pierce and Danny Clark being gone now, he may have an opportunity to step in and prove his worth. Blackburn may be the hardest working guy on the team, and with an old school coach like Coughlin, he may be able to win him over with his work ethic.
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