New York Giants: 10 Things To Watch For in ‘09 (Part 2)
Posted by Chris Monahan on August 18, 2009
6. The Linebackers- Finding Some Consistency
Other than Antonio Pierce and the MLB position, the OLB position has been a revolving door for New York the past few years. In the offseason the Giants addressed the need by drafting Clint Sintim, an aggressive pass-rushing specialist out of Virginia. They also added Atlanta linebacker Michael Boley in free agency. Boley can cover a lot of ground and is a sure tackler but suffered a serious setback when he underwent hip surgery in the offseason and is still not close to seeing the field.
Returning from last season is Danny Clark who started 15 games in 2008 and played admirably. He should lock up a starting position in week 1. Keep an eye on 2nd year player Bryan Kehl who continues to show improvement and has starter written all over him. Kehl is an intelligent player who is always in on the tackle and some think he could be a starter on the team for years to come. Zak DeOssie and Chase Blackburn will see some reps at the position but are better suited for special teams and bench roles. Look for Clark-Pierce-Kehl to be the starters week 1 with Sintim getting plenty of work in pass-rushing situations.
7. Eli Manning Becoming an Elite QB
Last week, Eli Manning signed a 6 year $97 million extension making him the highest paid player in the entire league. Now that Eli is getting paid elite money, he’ll be expected to play at a consistent, elite level. No one is questioning Eli’s ability to win games for the Giants. He has already proven that time and again. People will now look to Eli to play at a pro-bowl level game-in and game-out.
Manning has shown steady improvements the last 2 seasons in addition to a growing confidence. His ability to produce in the clutch at the end of games is evidence of this. Statistically, Manning had the best regular season of his career in 2008. He finished with career highs in completion percentage (60.3 %), quarterback rating (86.4), and he also threw a career low 10 interceptions. The Giants are a clear, run-oriented team which helps take some pressure off Manning. All he has to do is limit his mistakes and lead the team down the field to score in any way possible. The good news is he is already doing just that. A few extra TD passes also wouldn’t hurt. Expect Eli Manning to have the best season of his career in 2009.
8. Week 2 @ Dallas
The Giants travel to Dallas in week 2 for the regular season opener of the Cowboys new billion-dollar-mega-stadium. This primtime matchup between two division rivals is sure to be hyped up beyond belief. Dallas is looking to put their troubles of the past 2 seasons behind them by christening their new palace with a victory. The Giants and their fans would like nothing more then to spoil the party and give Dallas something else to cry about. You can argue that its impossible to have a must-win game in week 2, but try telling that to the Cowboys and their fans. This is a game that could set the tone for Dallas’ season.
9. The Last Season at the Current Giant’s Stadium
In 2010, the Giants will be moving into their own brand new stadium and will be leaving behind a field that was home to 3 Super Bowl Champions. The Giants will look to leave it on a high note as they try to make it a 4th.
- September 13th vs. Washington
- October 11th vs. Oakland
- October 25th vs. Arizona
- November 8th vs. San Diego
- November 22nd vs. Atlanta
- December 6th vs. Dallas
- December 13th vs. Philadelphia
- December 27th vs. Carolina
10. Can They Win Super Bowl XLIV?
You can make a legitimate argument that on paper this is the best Giants team in recent memory. Make no mistake about it, this is a team expected to win it all. Along with a proven QB they have arguably the best defense, offensive line and running game in all of football. All the ingredients are there for a run at the title. New York was 12-4 and the number 1 seed last year but ran out of gas towards the end. With the moves they’ve made in the offseason, that should not happen this time around. Standing in the Giants way this year are the always competitive Eagles and Cowboys, the defending NFC champion Cardinals and a large number of other teams with legitimate playoff aspirations. Coach Tom Coughlin understands and has a great feel for his team and will never let them take any opponent lightly. The Giants thrive in the underdog role, but this season they may have to do it as the favorites. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if New York is playing in Miami on February 7th.