New York Giants: 6 Areas That Must Be Addressed This Offseason
With all the hype this week surrounding the Super Bowl, let’s not forget about the Big Blue.
In back-to-back years, the Giants got off to a great start, only to falter as the season progressed.
What will it take for the G-Men to taste Super Bowl glory once more? Here are six areas the Giants will need to focus on this offseason.
6) Faith in Matt Dodge
Yes, I know Matt Dodge had a very inconsistent season highlighted by the punt return touchdown from DeSean Jackson.
I also know that he did have a few good games this season and has a tremendous amount of potential.
Rather than be skeptical with Dodge heading into the season, the Giants should place their faith in him and get his confidence up. He has talent but lacks the confidence.
Having Tom Coughlin scream in his face probably didn’t help much, but he has the ability to turn it around.
5) A Little Youth on the Offensive Line
Kareem McKenzie, Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert aren’t exactly spring chickens.
It may be time for the Giants to look into some younger options along the front five. The avenue for this would be through the draft, in which the Giants have the 19th pick in the first round.
If Tyron Smith of USC, Anthony Castonzo of BC or even Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin are available, the Giants would be wise to pull the trigger.
4) Improve the Secondary
Antrel Rolle was a great addition to the Giants secondary last year. It was also quite nice to finally see Kenny Phillips in extended action. Terrell Thomas established himself as a serviceable NFL cornerback as well.
Why then do the Giants need to improve the secondary?
Though Big Blue was ranked ninth in passing yards allowed per game (209.5), it was the big play that hurt them.
Brent Celek and Jordy Nelson aren’t guys who should be burning the secondary.
Tightening up the downfield coverage could do wonders for the defense.
3) Improve the Linebacking Core
Luckily for the Giants, the defensive front is easily the best in the game right now. With Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, Barry Cofield, Jason Pierre-Paul and a healthy Mathias Kiwanuka, no wonder they ranked eighth against the run.
However, the linebacking core could use some work.
Jonathan Goff had a nice season in his first full-time action. As for Keith Bulluck, I respect him a ton as a football player, but he really has to go. He is a shell of his former self.
Michael Boley is a talented football player, but he needs to step up and be more of a vocal leader on defense, sort of like Antonio Pierce was on the Super Bowl squad.
The Giants may look to draft a linebacker, and a possibility is Akeem Ayers from UCLA.
2) Special Teams
How many times this year did the Giants start with terrible field position or allow their opponent to have great field position to start a drive? Too many times.
Danny Ware made some strides as the kick return man late in the season, but the Giants have lacked a “home-run threat” kick returner since the days of Ron Dixon.
Even without focusing on the DeSean Jackson punt return touchdown, the Giants punt coverage was rather abysmal and could use a boost.
1) Re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw and Steve Smith
There has been, and will continue to be, much talk surrounding Plaxico Burress as an option at wide receiver.
That’s all well and good, but let’s face the facts: The Giants should be more concerned with trying to re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw and Steve Smith than worrying about Burress.
Despite the fumbles, Bradshaw is a bruising NFL back and forms an impressive tandem when paired with Brandon Jacobs.
His production would be hard to account for if he signed elsewhere.
As for Steve Smith, there might be no player more valuable to a team than Smith has been to the Giants for the last few seasons.
It was so obvious how much Eli Manning missed his favorite target when Smith went down with an injury.
He is the ideal possession receiver and should be re-signed at any cost.