New York Giants: 5 Guys Facing Make or Break Seasons in 2011

Jeff Shull@Jeff_ShullAnalyst IJune 17, 2011

New York Giants: 5 Guys Facing Make or Break Seasons in 2011

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Head Coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants reacts against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game on December 19, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Image
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The New York Giants haven't made the playoffs in two years, and the fans have been annoyed by the lack of focus and determination the team has shown down the stretch of pretty much every season in Tom Coughlin's time as the head coach.

    So, who are some players that need to step up if the Giants want to take the next step to becoming an elite team? These are also players that, if they don't step up, could find themselves without jobs or at least on different teams in 2012.

    Lets take a look.

Aaron Ross

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 28: Aaron Ross #31 of the New York Giants looks on before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their game on November 28, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Ge
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    In 2008 Aaron Ross looked as though he was taking the necessary steps to become one of the next great cover corners in the NFL.

    He possessed elite speed and, while his coverage ability was raw at first, it was improving each game.

    However, he suffered a hamstring injury in 2009 and hasn't been the same since. With Prince Amukamara now on the roster, he will have to show the Giants something this season or they could move on without him.

Jonathan Goff

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17:  Jonathan Goff #54  of the New York Giants against the Detroit Lions at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Jonathan Goff surprised everyone when he beat out perennial all pro Keith Bulluck for the middle linebacker spot in training camp last year.

    It turned out to be the right move, and Goff had a very solid season. Though unspectacular, he definitely outperformed expectations.

    Goff has proven that he can play—now he has to prove he can play at a high level. Many people thought the Giants should have replaced him in this draft, so if he has a quiet season again in 2011, the Giants could look to the 2012 draft to find a playmaker at the position.

Tom Coughlin

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    LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants encourages his players in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on January 2, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Giants won the game 17-14.  (Photo by Win
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Tom Coughlin is clapping in this picture, but he won't find many fans clapping for him unless he leads the Giants back to the playoffs in 2011.

    I'm pretty confident that if that doesn't happen, the Giants will fire Coughlin and hire Perry Fewell, who recently said he would love to take over as head coach of the Giants some day.

    Yeah, this isn't a player, but Coughlin is probably the best fit for the "make or break" category. This town doesn't respond to good, 10-win seasons; it wants playoffs.

Ramses Barden

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    SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 07:  Wide receiver Ramses Barden #13 of the New York Giants looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on November 7, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Giants defeated the Seahawks 41-7. (Photo
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Dubbed after being drafted in 2009 as the Giants' answer to the loss of Plaxico Brress, Ramses Barden has not progressed as the Giants would have hoped.

    Either that or they don't trust him to play in games just yet.

    Whatever it is, Barden hasn't seen the field much besides the game against the Dallas Cowboys—his first game with an increased role, during which he injured his ankle and was lost for the season.

    Not exactly something you want to happen to your "project" pick.

    If he can show the Giants he's recovered from his ankle injury and be the red-zone threat they expected him to be, then maybe he'll stick around.

Travis Beckum

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    HOUSTON - OCTOBER 10:  Travis Beckum #47 of the New York Giants in action during the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Travis Beckum was supposed to be the receiving threat from the tight end position that the Giants didn't really have when they took him in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

    He has shown flashes of being that guy, but his complete lack of any blocking skill whatsoever has hindered the Giants' willingness to put him on the field.

    Kevin Boss missed a game last season, and watching Beckum try to block was horrifying—I was embarrassed for him, which is never good.

    He did catch a two touchdown passes and does have good speed at the position, and I have to admit that I was one of the people who wished the Giants would have drafted a tight end. 

    But this could be the last season for Beckum unless he steps up.