The Big Blue Nine: Names You Don't Often Hear

Jared KarlebachContributor IDecember 5, 2008

Like all great teams, the Giants have their stars who hog the headlines, fill the commentators' useless time, and become the faces of the franchise. 

For the New York Giants, there are the usual suspects of Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, Antonio Pierce, Tom Coughlin, and for the last time possibly Plaxico Burress (sometimes good, sometimes bad, always a roller coaster of a ride with him). 

All great teams, though, require some amount of depth and individuals who perform largely under the radar.

These individuals are in many ways, just as valuable as the big names and require some praise, so here is a list of some of the invaluable players that keep this train rolling...


1. Sam Madison CB

Once a fairly big-time name in the game and an elite corner, Madison's time as a starter is for the most part over (unless he wants a gig in Detroit).  However, even with little playing times these days, he is still giving 100% on game day helping the younger players, coaching them, and making sure the secondary is on their game each and every down.  I can't help but think that Madison's presence is a big reason for this young Giant's secondary to be as good as they are both at the safety and corner positions.  I hope there is a coaching spot for him when he hangs up his cleats.


2. Kevin Boothe OL

Aside from winning my BLG award (Biggest looking Giant), Boothe has played a very important role as the first offensive lineman off the bench at both the tackle and guard positions.  When Guy Whimper was injured in the beginning of the year, Boothe stepped in as the next guy in line and boy has he done his work.  They often say that if you are hearing an offensive lineman's name it is probably not a good thing, but you never hear this kid's name, EVER!  He is versatile and solid, and when he plays the offense does not slow down, a gem off the bench.


3. Barry Cofield DT

Three words that describe the productive Cofield; Smart, durable, and effective.  He doesn't miss a down, is quick and strong, and yet for some unknown reason, he is the forgotten piece of a most fearsome Giants Defensive line.  He is a run stopper who has the ability to make a push and rush the passer.  He is not flashy, but he is a blue collar worker if you ask me, who gives you everything you ask for.


4. Chase Blackburn LB

I'm convinced that if you asked this kid to play corner he would succeed before too long.  Again, like Cofield he is not flashy, but it seems like he is always in on the play.  A long time special teams stand out who always is making the tackle, Blackburn has had the chance to start at LB for a few games and has not disappointed, the defense keeps on rolling.  A great role player and very unselfish.  Did I mention smart?


5. Jeff Feagles P

I'm going to make this one short.  If you want a team pinned inside the 20, you call on Mr. Feagles to get it done.  He doesn't have the strongest leg in the world, but it might be the most accurate.  Can always be counted on!


6.  Reuben Droughns RB

I was never high on Droughns and thought that keeping him around this year was pointless, but as it turns out he provides leadership in a young backfield, adequate depth at an already deep position, and contributes on special teams.  The most amazing part about him is that he never complains.  A great team player with veteran experience and leadership.


7. Madison Hedgecock FB

Another one of Jerry Reese's steals.  Ever since joining the Giants, he has done nothing but open up holes for one of the best rushing attacks in the league, never getting a carry, and rarely catching a pass, Hedgecock is asked to plow open holes for his teammates, something he seems to relish doing.  Not to mention he adds some comic relief as well.


8. Jay Alford DT

The first defensive tackle off the bench who made himself known as a rookie in the Superbowl with one of the most memorable hits on a QB in a big game.  He does more than just fill in a DT though, where he has developed into a dependable player, he also handles the field goal snapping duties.  He makes this list because he has solidified the field goal snapping job without worrying Giants fans, something Giants fans lacked for a few years earlier this decade.


9. Peter Giunta: Secondary Coach

He came over from Kansas City a few years back and has turned the secondary into a formidable unit.  Corey Webster has developed under him, Aaron Ross is starting in only his second year, and he has developed a pair of safeties in Michael Johnson and James Butler (Drafted in the seventh round and undrafted respectively) into a ball hawking, hard hitting team.  Once considered a weakness of our defense, Giunta has helped elevate this unit into a strength.  Of course having a great pass rush doesn't hurt either.

Giants over Eagles: 31-13