The Giants are a team ravaged by injuries and they have yet to play a regular season game in 2011. Giant fans are panicking.
Yesterday, we learned that Jonathon Goff is out for the season with a torn ACL. He joins Marvin Austin, Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson and Brian Witherspoon as guys that won’t see the field this season due to injury.
The number of injuries on the Giants are alarming, but here are five reasons why fans of Big Blue shouldn’t jump ship just yet.
The Giants will have an excellent chance at starting their season off on the right foot. Six of their first seven games come against teams that posted losing records in 2010.
Building confidence in a young team is going to be a lot easier with such a back heavy schedule. If the Giants take five of their first seven, they’ll have to feel pretty good about their playoff chances moving forward. These early games against losing teams will also provide Tom Coughlin an opportunity to evaluate some of his young talent and assure that the best players are on the field as they brace for the second half.
Eli Manning has faced a lot of ridicule for his comments regarding his self-proclaimed status as an elite QB. He put himself in the same class as Tom Brady, in spite of throwing 25 interceptions in 2010.
Any intelligent Giants fan would be willing to admit that Eli isn’t Tom Brady, but they should be excited by Eli’s confidence. The fact that Eli considers himself elite in spite of all his struggles shows that he isn’t going to get caught up in the struggles of 2010.
Brandon Jacobs took a pay cut to keep Ahmad Bradshaw around, and as a result, the Giants will have one of the best running games in the NFC. Both backs benefit greatly from the presence of one another, and both have looked excellent this preseason.
Bradshaw had problems holding onto the ball in 2010. One must believe that if he continues to put the ball on the ground, then Tom Coughlin won’t hesitate to increase Jacobs’ workload. The two backs are motivated by one another, and both could easily rush for over 1,000 yards.
Having such a stout rushing attack means the Giants can keep their young defense off of the field while controlling the tempo of the game. In the case of this year’s team, the best defense is a good rushing offense.
The main reason for the panic of Giants fans comes from the lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball. The injuries in the secondary and the youth of the line backing corps are undeniable. However, the Giants have the best group of defensive ends in the league.
Osi Umenyiora won’t be active for Week 1, but once he returns, the Giants will have the opportunity to keep Osi, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul fresh for every quarter every week. Tuck and Umenyiora are already regarded as perennial Pro Bowlers, and Jason Pierre-Paul is well on his way. Pierre-Paul had 4.5 sacks last season in limited action and will have a shot at double digits in 2011.
If all three of these guys stay healthy, the Giants will force QBs to make hurried decisions, making things much easier on their questionable secondary.
Fans can panic all they want, but the Giants have yet to play a game. It’s impossible to count a team out before they’ve even set foot on the field. When the Giants caught fire and won Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots, there were questions about their young inexperienced secondary. Experts and analysts doubted the decision-making of Eli Manning, and there were questions about the depth of an aging team.
Many of these questions have resurfaced in 2011, but the answers won’t come until they make their debut this Sunday. The Eagles are an early favorite in the division—the same Eagles that tout the most injury-prone QB in the NFL. The Redskins aren’t sure who their quarterback is, and the Cowboys are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons of the past decade.
There’s no doubt that Giants fans have reason to be leery about their team’s potential for success in 2011, but they play the game for a reason. There’s no reason to panic.
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