5 Storylines to Follow in New York Giants’ Training Camp
5 New York Giants News To Watch
Last season, the New York Giants had the toughest schedule, yet they still managed to finish 9-7. Unfortunately, it was not good enough to earn a playoff berth. It was a huge disappointment for a team that won the Super Bowl the year before. Quarterback Eli Manning was inconsistent throughout the season. Part of the reason was the lack of offensive weapons. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was hampered by a knee injury and running back Ahmad Bradshaw's production also declined because of health issues. Victor Cruz and Martellus Bennett were the only two reliable receivers.
This season, the roster has received some overhaul. Bradshaw has gone to the Indianapolis Colts, while tight end Bennett will play for the Chicago Bears. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora has joined forces with the Atlanta Falcons. Those are some big shoes to fill.
The Giants want to return to the Super Bowl. This year could be special since the Super Bowl will be held at Metlife Stadium, their home turf. The Giants do not want opposing teams to use their locker room. Cruz has just signed to a long-term contract and second-year receiver Rueben Randle looks ready to contribute. Running back Andre Brown predicts he will run for 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns. The defensive secondary aim to redeem themselves after giving up an average of 254 yards last season.
After one week of training camp, the team looks poised for a rebound. With only a few days left until the preseason matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is still plenty of time for improvement. Let's look at the top storylines about the Giants' training camp.
5. Battle for Tight End
Since Kevin Boss' departure at the end of the 2010 season, the Giants have used their starting tight end for only one season. This season, Brandon Myers, who last played for the Oakland Raiders will be replacing Bennett. Bennett was Manning's second top target last season, with 55 receptions and five touchdowns. Myers had 79 receptions and 806 yards for an offensively challenged Raiders team.
Manning needs a pass-catching tight end when Nicks and Cruz are neutralized. Myers can catch, but can he offer pass-block protection? Then there are Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell, two big targets who run well. They each had a catch during Saturday's practice. Myers is currently the favorite for the starting position, but he has a lot of competition behind him.
4. Hakeem Nicks's Health Status
Nicks was bothered by foot and knee injuries last season. They limited him to 53 catchers and three touchdowns. This time a groin injury has kept him from participating in training camp drills. In 2010 and 2011, Nicks had over 1,000 receiving yards both seasons. In order for the Giants' offense to work, somebody has to take some of the pressure off of Cruz. If Nicks will not be ready for the season's opener, then Randle will step up to make a name for himself.
3. Resurgence of the Defensive Secondary
Last season, the Giants' secondary was a laughingstock. They could not stop anything thrown deep and to the outside. In training camp, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell likes what he sees. His secondary picked off five passes on Monday and three on Thursday. If the defensive backs keep this up during the regular season, the Giants' chances of making the playoffs will increase.
2. Who will be the Starting Running Back?
With the departure of Bradshaw, the starting running back position is up for grabs between Andre Brown and David Wilson. Wilson has speed and explosiveness while Brown is the better blocker and excels in the short-yardage game. It's possible that Coach Tom Coughlin might split carries between the two.
1. Linebacker Spots are Wide Open
The Giants lost Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley in the offseason, while Mathias Kiwanuka has moved back down to his natural defensive end spot. All three starting linebacker spots are completely up for grabs. The current projected starters are Spencer Paysinger, Keith Rivers, and Mark Herzlich, as they have been on the first team since spring. Meanwhile Jacquian Williams, Aaron Curry and Dan Connor are nipping at their heels. The coaches have told them that nothing is set in stone and that the depth chart will change depending on everyone's performances. There is still plenty of time for each one of them to make enough impression to win the starting spots.