NEW YORK – The New York Giants have missed the playoffs for the past two years straight. Do you know what happens when an NFL team fails to make it to the playoffs in back to back seasons? Change happens. Passionate fans have been expressing their concerns or displeasure with the Roster moves that were made. I feel bad for the players that did not make the roster because I know they worked hard to shine. But I will not criticize GM Jerry Reese for having the guts to make bold changes after two down seasons in a row. There are a lot of new faces on the team this year and fans had to say goodbye to a few of their favorite players. If anyone thinks that Jerry Reese or Tom Coughlin made these moves to hurt the team, they are simply out of their minds.
The most surprising area of the team in 2011 will be the four rookies playing the linebacker position. A lot of people expected a big free agent signing to help out this young group but it did not happen. In fact, Reese kicked the table of conformity over completely and chose to keep four rookie LB’s (Herzlich, Jones, Paysinger and Williams) on the roster. I understand that player injuries forced a lot of the player moves made but the linebacker group is purely taking a shot in the dark at glory. I’m confident this young group of players have the talent to excel but they have to believe it themselves. It is going to be very exciting to see these guys flying around the field and making plays. My best advice to the rookies is simple, study the playbook as much as possible. Once your brain catches up to your body, you are going to be dangerous. The Giants have never had an Offensive Rookie of the Year and the last Defensive Rookie of the Year for Big Blue was LB Lawrence Taylor in 1981. Someone needs to fire up these youngsters to shoot for the ROY goal.
Were there some surprise moves made? Of course there were, like every single year there are. One move that wasn’t a surprise to me was P Steve Weatherford replacing P Matt Dodge. Dodge was given every chance to make improvements this year and will probably end up being a very good NFL punter, just not this year. That forced the Giants to make the hard choice of letting him go. I wish the kid well in his career and I’m sure that he will land on his feet someplace. The Giants special teams are just terrible and any roster shake up for the sake of improvement is welcome. Some were surprised by QB David Carr taking over the backup role for QB Eli Manning and QB Sage Rosenfels landing on the IR list. This is another smart move in my opinion because of the uncertainty surrounding the new offensive line. The G-Men need to be sure they have enough QB’s on the team in case the unthinkable happens. The running backs and wide receivers are two of the bright spots on the team and will be fine this season. However, the tight ends could end up being a problem. Reese will have to address this group sooner or later if Beckum or Ballard do not play well.
The cornerbacks and offensive line will need to step up the most this year. For obvious reasons we need the offensive line to gel together quickly and begin to play relaxed football. They need to feel confident that the man beside them will know their role and responsibilities. The cornerbacks were decimated by injuries this offseason and a couple of the guys will find their roles increased two-fold. If these guys can give the defensive ends enough time to reach the opposing quarterbacks, things will be fine. I’m extremely confident in the last line of defense with our safety group and their ability to deny any touchdowns if the CB’s get overwhelmed. Rookie S Tyler Sash has had an outstanding preseason and deserves his spot on the roster. DC Perry Fewell is smart enough to know how to use his guys the right way and will most likely get creative with the backfield this year.
In conclusion, I expect the Giants to make it back to the playoffs this year. It will be tough getting through that schedule but I think the injection of so much young talent will blend nicely by mid-season. Players will answer the call and step up big time in order to get Big Blue back where they belong in the postseason. The regular season starts in seven days.
What are your thoughts about the Giants final Roster? Do you think this group has the talent to return to the playoffs in 2011?
RD – nygreporter.com