2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Gilbride
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Spagnuolo
Pro-Bowl: Tiki Barber(RB), Jeremy Shockey(TE), Antonio Pierce(MLB)
The New York Giant's offense this season was very inconsistent. At times it had both a high-powered running and passing game and sometimes it would be one or the other. With all these inconsistencies, mostly with Eli Manning, the Giants offense was just mediocre as a whole, ranking 14th. The G-Men's running game was far better than their passing game, getting 134.8 yards per game(7th) and the passing game got 191.1(19th). Eli Manning took a lot of heat this season and at times rightfully so, he threw for 3,244 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Manning's quarterback rating was a sub-par 77.0, obviously the Giants aren't going to be making many playoff appearances unless he is able to right the ship. The running game was the strong point this season, with Tiki Barber rushing for 1,662 yards and 5 touchdowns and Brandon Jacobs rushing for 425 yards and 9 touchdowns. New York didn't really have a receiver this season that put up huge numbers, no one really distanced themselves as the number one option. Plaxico Burress caught only 63 balls for 988 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jeremy Shockey led the team with 66 receptions, he also had 623 yards and 7 touchdowns. Barber also contributed with 58 receptions and 465 yards. About mid-way through the season, Tiki Barber announced that that it would be his last season. He stated that he would be retiring in order to pursue other interests. So obviously this is a huge leap in the wrong direction for the Giants, they have been successfully running a duo backfield for many years, and Jacobs ability to carry the load 25+ times a game remains to be seen. They did however trade for Reuben Droughns so he could be a solid replacement for Barber or he could be a bust, we'll have to wait and see.
The defense of the New York Giants was the exact opposite of the offense, it was in the bottom third overall and and it was better against the passing game and less effective against the running game. A big reason they allowed 228.1(28th) yards per game was injuries on the defensive line. Both Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora missed significant time due to injuries, Strahan having missed more 7 games had just 38 tackles and 3 sacks and Umenyiora had 31 tackles but still was able to lead the team in sacks with 6. Rookie defensive end, Mathias Kiwanuka did have a good season with 53 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions. Antonio Pierce led the team in tackles once again this year having racked up 137 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 interception, Pierce was selected to the Pro-Bowl. The Giants had great production from both safety positions, Gibril Wilson had 100 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions and Will Demps also had 100 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions.
Longtime Giant kicker, Jay Feely had his best statistical season of his career hitting 85.2% of his field goal attempts and 23-27 overall. And in return for his great season, he was released and signed by the Miami Dolphins. Jeff Feagles, on the other hand had the worst statistical season as a Giant with an average of just 40.2 per punt, only 3 touchbacks and 27 punts inside the 20 yard line. The returning duties were handled mostly by veteran runningback, Chad Morton. On punt returns he was quite bad having an average of just 9.2 and a total of 268 yards and kick returns were much better having averaged 21.6 per return and a total of 670 yards. I expect Sinorice Moss to take over the returning duties because Morton was released following the season.
The New York Giants hold the 20th pick overall in this year's draft and they could go many different ways with that selection. They need a lot of help at cornerback, outside linebacker and offensive tackle and all could be upgraded by using this pick on one of them. I feel they will look to the defense side of the ball in the first round rather than the offensive line. They released Lavar Arrington and Carlos Emmons and are without replacements at the outside linebacker position so the consensus is that they will go that way. They also have needs at defensive tackle wide receiver and runningback.
Positions that must be addressed to during this year's draft.
1. Outside Linebacker
3. Offensive Tackle
4. Defensive Tackle
Having released two of their outside linebackers they have a blaring need that must be filled in either the 1st or 2nd round in April. If they go with the first round they could pick up guys like Paul Posluszny out of Penn State, Lawrence Timmons out of Florida State or Jon Beason out of Miami. Or they could wait until the second round and select someone like Stewart Bradley out of Nebraska. Either one of those guys would be an immediate upgrade and all could start immediately.
This is another need of the Giants and they may look to fill this need in the first round with a rising star, Chris Houston out of Arkansas or they could go with Marcus McCauley out of Fresno State who has likely slipped to a second round selection but he can still be a solid starter in the NFL. I really can't see them waiting till the 3rd round to draft a corner but if they do, guys like David Irons out of Auburn, Daymeion Hughes out of California and Fred Bennett out of South Carolina could all be viable options.
Having recently released starting left tackle, Luke Petitgout the Giants must find a replacement and some guys that would fill that hole nicely are Joe Staley out of Central Michigan, Arron Sears out of Tennessee and Tony Ugoh in the Arkansas could be had in the 2nd round and James Marten out of Boston College and Ryan Harris out of Notre Dame and Doug Free out of Northern Illinois could be selected in the third round. All guys have tremendous upside and are projected to be long-time starters.
I look for the Giants to start to look for a defensive tackle in the middle rounds, somewhere around the 3rd to 5th rounds. Someone that will probably still be around in the 4th or 5th round is Antonio Johnson out of Mississippi State. He is a extremely fast interior lineman with great size and lots of upside. The only knock on him is he doesn't have a lot of starts under his belt but he's one of those guys that has all the tools to be a great defensive force given the chance. Others that will still be available in the middle rounds are Marcus Thomas formally with Florida, Ola Dagunduro out of Nebraska and Joe Cohen out of Florida.
With the loss of Tiki Barber not only did he leave them with a hole to fill running the ball but also as a receiver out of the backfield. Some good receiving running backs are Brian Leonard out of Rutgers, he could be chosen in the 2nd round, Lorenzo Booker out of Florida State, Darius Walker out of Notre Dame and Tony Hunt out of Penn State.
The Giants have a good team, but they are tremendous underachievers. If Manning can play up to his potential, they can find a solid replacement for Tiki and their defense can play well I could definitely see them in the playoffs or even winning the NFC East next season.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
2006 season: 8-8