With the NFL lockout and the Brady v. NFL lawsuit putting the upcoming season in jeopardy, there are concerns we will not see a game played until 2012. It is likely, though, that we will have football, even if the season starts late and not every game is played. Presuming there is a season this winter, it is hard to know what to expect from the Giants.
They have been inconsistent in recent seasons. Very few people would have expected them to reach Super Bowl XLII and even fewer to win it. Two years later, they were a .500 team and last year had an 8-2 run but failed to make the playoffs. Head coach Tom Coughlin’s job has been on the line at several points in the last few years.
However many games are played this year—whether it is eight or 18—the Giants could contend if they get more consistent performances across the board or a big breakout season from a few players. Here, we look at five players who could be poised to have a big season in 2011.
Limited by injuries and the lack of a solid, defined role in the offense, Beckum did not accomplish much in 2010, with just two touchdowns
He was drafted as a tight end/H-back, but the latter does not fit in the New York offense and the he has not shone as the former. He could be used as a slot receiver if offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride decides against using him as a TE. His speed and great pass-catching ability mean that if the Giants find a steady role for him and he stays healthy, he could have a big year.
Was there a more underrated and underappreciated WR in the NFL last season than Mario Manningham?
Even without an everyday starting role, Manningham racked up 944 yards and nine touchdowns on 60 receptions.
He showed glimpses of his potential in 2010 and should be a stud receiver in 2011.
Second-year defensive lineman Joseph is one of the prime candidates to have a big season after a very quiet rookie season in which he was active for just six games. Aside from a five-tackle game in Green Bay, he did almost nothing.
Still, you can expect him to improve dramatically. With Barry Cofield wanting to test the free agent waters and probably pricing the Giants out of contention for his services, Joseph will be the one of the main guys to whom New York turns.
Nicks is already spoken of exceptionally highly (his 2010 numbers prove that), so to say he is primed for a "breakout" season might not make much sense, but wait. It is all relative.
For Nicks, a breakout season would mean he was not just a very good wide receiver but one of the game’s elite. One could make the argument that Nicks is still underrated, anyway.
He does have a tendency to drop the ball or to attempt to make his first move before he has completed the catch. He has developed into one of the best all-round WRs in the league, but do not be surprised if 2011 sees him become a top-three talent.
The Giants’ defense looked awful towards the end of the 2010 season, allowing 83 points between weeks 15 and 16, and Webster recorded more than two tackles just once in the last five games.
Overall, though, he had a good season, with a career-high four picks. He has been a solid cornerback in his six years in New York but has never stepped forward as one of the best in the league. With the drafting of highly-touted Prince Amukamara, he might feel under more pressure, and if he is ever going to take that next step, it will be this year.