New York Giants: Key Changes Needed To Get Back to Super Bowl Form

Reid DavenportCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the New England Patriots 17 - 14 in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Even though it was a mere three years ago, it seems almost nostalgic to mention the Giants' Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.

In the three seasons since that victory, the G-Men have returned to the playoffs only once, losing to Philadelphia in the 2008-09 Divisional round.

However, it seems as if the Giants have always been on the cusp of another playoff run.

So what do they need to do to evolve from a good regular season team into a Super Bowl contender?

First, they need to shift to the "smashmouth" football that earned them one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.

That means running the ball more.  I'm not sure whether someone needs to look into replacing offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, or Coach Tom Coughlin should mandate running the ball more, but the Giants should be going to the ground on first and second down more often.

This is not a knock on Eli Manning, as there's no question he's a top-10 NFL quarterback, but more opportunities and production from the Ahmad Bradshaw-Brandon Jacobs tandem would give Eli the time in the pocket he needs.

Which brings me to my second point: invest in the offensive line.

In 2010, injuries and, quite frankly, old age hurt the offensive line.  Again, this is not a knock on the line, but it's time for an upgrade there since four of the starters are 30 or older.

Defensively, the secondary improved tremendously from 2009, finishing ninth in fewest passing yards allowed per game last season.  But, just one or two more defensive backs to complement Antrel Rolle and Terrell Thomas would put the Giants in very good shape.

Lastly, and obviously, the Giants need an upgrade at linebacker.  Keith Bulluck wasn't what he cracked up to be.  The G-Men should spend a first round draft pick on a linebacker who will make an immediate impact on defense.

If you compare the current Giants roster to their 2007 incarnation, many of the starting pieces are still in place.  The biggest differences are of course the losses of Plaxico Burress and deffensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Still, Perry Fewell has earned his stripes as the defensive coordinator and the current receiving corp is more dynamic than it was three years ago.