New York Giants: 10 Things To Watch For in ’09 (Part 1)
Posted by Chris Monahan on August 14, 2009
1. The Wide Reciever Position
Plaxico Burress is merely an afterthought and the Giants can finally move on. A position that many consider a weakness for the Giants, wide reciever might turn out to be a strength. The talent is certainly there, they’ll just need someone to take that jump to the next level.
Steve Smith was targeted by Eli Manning often last year and is the most reliable posession reciever on the team. Dominick Hixon has deadly speed and can get by almost any secondary but just needs to show more consistency. Hakeem Nicks, New York’s 1st round pick, isn’t flashy but has sure hands, is tough to bring down and can contribute right away. Watch out for 6 foot 6 inch Ramses Barden, a 3rd round pick by the Giants. He has been stellar so far in camp and could be the “green” zone threat the Giants have missed since Burress’ departure.
2. The Best D-Line In Football
The thing that seperates New York’s defensive line from any other is the vast amount of depth and versatility. Almost every player is starter quality and each one will get considerable reps in 2009. This depth will keep each player fresh as the season goes on.
The line is anchored by Pro-Bowler Justin Tuck who can play inside and out, pressure the QB and stop the run. He has quickly become one of the best in the business. The return of Osi Umenyiora from injury will help draw double teams away from Tuck as well as Mathias Kiwanuka, keeping the pressure rampant. Newcomer Chris Canty also adds to the lines versatiliy and his huge frame will help swat down balls on the outside chance the QB is able to deliver the pass. Rocky Bernard joins Fred Robbins, Jay Alford and Barry Cofield at the tackle position which made great strides in ’08 and should be even better this year.
3. Brandon Jacobs. Period.
The video says it all. He’s probably my favorite player to watch in all of football. One of the greatest things to watch is Jacobs breaking through a line, finding the open field and then watching the carnage that ensues. He can alter a game like very few can.
4. More Ahmad Bradshaw
Anyone who watched the Giants Super Bowl run in 2007 knows how big of a part Ahmad Bradshaw played. Now with the departure of 1000 yard rusher Derrick Ward, Bradshaw should have a more featured role in the Giants offense. Bradshaw features blazing speed and an unstoppable motor that allows him to push the pile to pick up the extra yards. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry in his short career and can be an excellent compliment to the bigger Jacobs.
In the NFC Championship game, Bradshaw had a 40+ yard TD run called back on a weak holding call. For me, that was one of the better running plays i’ve seen in recent memory. He ran with extreme conviction and skill. Giant fans should expect to see more of that in 2009.
5) Kenny Phillips becoming the safety the Giants have lacked
For years the Giants have lacked a true playmaking safety in the secondary. With Aaron Ross and Corey Webster having locked up the cornerback position, look for Phillips to do the same with safety this year. He showed flashes his rookie year and has all the tools to be that guy; great speed, strength and just overall good instincts. He has made some stellar interceptions in camp and can add a whole new dimension to the Giants defense if he progresses the way everyone is expecting him to.
Look for Part 2 (6-10) of My 10 Things to Watch For in ’09 in the coming days. Eli Manning, New and Old Stadiums and Super Bowl Aspirations.