The story unfolding for the 2010 New York Giants is a tale with more twist and turns than the summer blockbuster "Inception."
The G-Men appear to be heading back towards a defensive mind set after their lackluster performance of a year ago. But there are more problems that need to be fixed.
The running game and the offensive line showed their age with lingering injuries and instability throughout the year. Tom Coughlin, the coach and gimmick-laden motivator who has inspired his team to be great, is on the hot seat as well.
So, with some of these internal problems and the rest of the East flexing their muscles, how can we even be thinking about a run for the division title?
There is always hope at the beginning of the season, and any team can win on any given Sunday. Yes, even the Rams and Lions.
The Giants have improved from last year on paper with the additions of safety Antrel Rolle and linebacker Keith Bullock. New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell also hopes to bring back toughness to a defense that gave up a combined 85 points in the last two games of the season.
Kenny Phillips is coming back, and if he can return at full strength the Giants will have one of the top safety tandems in the league to go with solid corners Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster on the outside.
Justin Tuck will also be coming back from an injury that had him playing well below 100 percent last season. The additions of Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph through the draft show that Jerry Reese is emphasizing controlling the line of scrimmage and getting to the quarterback.
Due to the linebacking corps' lack of experience, Bullock will be playing middle linebacker in a 4-3 for the first time in his career. Michael Boley and Clint Sintim appear to have the inside track at winning the outside backer positions. The linebackers will play a big part in whether this team can succeed.
The offense has fewer concerns, but they are still there.
The running game and offensive line have to stay healthy.
Brandon Jacobs tip-toed along the line last year and played poorly for the majority of the year. Ahmad Bradshaw played well as the number two guy, but multiple leg injuries kept him from really shining. If the offense wants to succeed these two guys—along with Andre Brown and whoever else carries the ball—will have to perform better.
In order for them to do their job, the offensive line will have to stay healthy as well. Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie were hurting last year and couldn't keep the line intact. David Diehl and Shaun O'Hara are still performing at high levels and Chris Snee is one of the best guards in the NFL. Will Beatty may get an opportunity this year to show what he has as well.
Eli Manning blossomed last year with a monster season, as did the young receiving group consisting of Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. They should stay great as long as the the running game can keep defenses on their toes. The loss of Domenik Hixon hurts, but it may open the door to Ramses Barden to shine as a another red zone threat.
The Redskins will be better this year but don't expect a veteran Donovan McNabb to resurrect the Hogs.
The Eagles may be better off without McNabb in a few years, but the switch to Kevin Kolb may be too soon. If he can't handle the pressure when he struggles, the Eagles may be looking at a slide down the divisional ladder.
The only team that appears to be in the Giants way is their hated rival, the Dallas Cowboys.
Jerry Jones has built this team into a major force and some predict Dallas as a Super Bowl favorite. Despite Dallas winning the division last year, the Giants still won both games against them.
The Giants have the talent to make another run. To do so they must gel together and show the world what they are capable of. And that's another NFC East title.
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