Once again the New York Giants' season ended in disappointment. It seems that every year the G-Men fall one game short of the playoffs.
New York was terribly inconsistent all year; One week they would be considered Super Bowl favorites and the next they would lose to the Dallas Cowboys or Tennessee Titans. Most agree that they are very close to being true contenders, but they are still a few pieces away.
For instance, the Giants lack a back-up quarterback and an elite linebacker. Also, they must decide if they are going to resign Mathias Kiwanuka, Ahmad Bradshaw and Steve Smith, as they will be free-agents this year.
Any way you look at it, the Giants have a busy off-season ahead of them.
One thing the New York Giants desperately need is a reliable back-up quarterback. Eli Manning is an extremely durable QB and the offensive line rarely lets him get sacked but just in case he does get hurt, Sage Rosenfels is not the answer.
Matt Hasslebeck is a proven winner, as he has led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl and an upset win over the New Orlean Saints. He may want to stay a starter with Seattle depending on how far they go this post-season, but a loss to the Bears will send Hasselbeck packing for another city.
The most under-rated part of the game is special teams. If you have seen the New York Giants play, you know that this is something they struggle with.
The loss of Domenik Hixon returning kick-offs really hurt the team this season. Instead of starting at the thirty yard line, the Giants would regularly start behind the twenty yard line. Darius Reynaud, the current kick-off returner, is not the answer. Darren Sproles is. This signing would actually fill two needs.
He would be a return man and another play maker out of the backfield. He is one of the best return men in the National Football League and he would be a huge upgrade. The former Kansas State Wildcat could become a New York Giant, but there are many teams in need of his services and the San Diego Chargers put their franchise tag on him.
Another option is Leon Washington, who would be cheaper to sign.
Another San Diego Charger the New York Giants could pursue. Tolbert really shined this season for the Chargers with the injuries to Ryan Matthews.
With the loss of Madison Hedgecock, the Giants lost a legit weapon out of the backfield. On many occasions on third and short, the Giants would run play-action and then flip it out to Hedgecock.
However with Hedgecock's season-ending injury, Bear Pascoe had to come in and play fullback. Pascoe played well, but not spectacular.
With Hedecock's uncertainty and Pascoe's decent play, Tolbert would be an immediate upgrade at the fullback position. He would also bring more depth at the running back position, as he can play tailback.
If you watched the Green Bay Packers verse the New York Giants in week 16, you noticed that James Jones dominated the G-Men with his speed. When Jones did a slant route it was impossible for the corners to guard him.
Once he gets the ball, he has incredible vision over the field as he is capable of taking it to the house on every play. It is difficult to believe that the Packers would let him go, especially with Donald Driver's age, but its possible.
Cadillac was one of the most promising talents in the league early in his career, as he won the AP National Footbal League Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2005.
However, that was his last successful season thanks to the injuries which have hampered his career. He lost his starting job to LeGarrette Blount and rarely saw the field towards the end of the season.
However, a healthy Cadillac Williams is a dangerous Cadillac Williams. He would be a great fit in New York, as the Giants love to run screens and he is one of the best receiving backs in the league. Also, with the uncertainty of Jacobs and Bardshaw it would be wise to sign Williams as a back-up.
The New York Giants are one more cornerback away from being one of the elite defenses. They already have one of the best rush defenses in the league and the only thing keeping them from having the best pass defense is another "above-average" corner and elite linebacker.
They have one of the deepest secondaries in the league with defensive backs Deon Grant, Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle, Terell Thomas, Corey Webster and Aaron Ross.
Ike Taylor is an extremely athletic corner and is considered the fastest player on the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is in his prime and would be a great acquisition for the Giants.
Chad Greenway is one of the most under-rated players in the entire National Football League. He has only been in the NFL since 2007, but he has made a major impact for the Vikings.
He plays coverage extremely well and seems to be everywhere on the field. He recorded 144 tackles and one sack.
With this acquisition the New York Giants would boast the best pass defense in the NFL. The problem—he likes Minnesota and he may decide to stay a Viking.
This was the first season that we have seen the New York Giants O-line start to fall apart because of age. With injuries to everybody, the offensive line was in shambles.
The Giants need to start thinking about the future and sign a player like Jermon Bushrod. At only 26 years old, he has playoff experience with the new Orleans Saints and has anchored an extremely consistent line that saw Drew Brees sacked only 26 times.
There are two players that the New York Giants seriously need to consider bringing back.
Steve Smith is one of them, as he has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the NFL. In 2009 he was a Pro-Bowler after he broke the Giants single season reception mark. He has been Eli Manning's favorite target out of the slot.
Haakeem Nicks, Smith and Mario Manningham, form one of the scariest starting wide receiver line-ups in the NFL.
Smith did go down with a season-ending injury and that does raise question marks. However, the connection between Manning and Smith is too great to not take a chance. Smith has showed interest in going to play for his old USC coach in Seattle, but I think that the Giants will retain him.
Steve Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw are the two free-agent players the New York Giants MUST re-sign.
They should also consider signing Mathias Kiwanuka, but I think Pierre-Paul deserves a bigger role in the defense thanks to his stellar play in a limited role. Mathias had a season-ending injury, which has resulted in some questions.
Bradshaw has become one of the elite running backs in the league. Many forget that he racked up 1,235 yards and 8 touchdowns in a time-share with Jacobs. He is only 24 years old and has a very bright future ahead of him. However, Bradshaw did have a case of fumblitis—he lost six of them.
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