It’s getting close to the end of July, which only means one thing: The start of football. The New York Giants have started preparations for the 2013 regular season with players reporting to training camp today for physicals, meetings and conditioning testing. The first practice session will be held on Saturday, July 27th.
Last year, the Giants finished an up and down season with a 9-7 record and a second place finish in division behind a rising Redskins team. While a lot of teams would be thrilled with a 9-7 season, missing the playoffs was a major disappointment after coming off of their 2nd Superbowl victory of the Eli Manning era.
With last year behind them, the Giants enter training camp with a lot of questions and even more new faces. Will this re-vamped Giants roster be able to get the Giants back to the playoffs, or will Met Life stadium once again be quite come January?
Here are five burning questions for the Giants as they enter training camp:
1. Can David Wilson and Andre Brown replace Ahmad Bradshaw?
The short answer is 100%, absolutely, positively, without a doubt, bet your life on it, yes. Well maybe that wasn’t so short.
Giants General Manager Jerry Reese letting Ahmad Bradshaw walk away is yet another example of why we should always trust in Jerry. If you havent heard, our old friend Ahmad is ALREADY on the PUP list for his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, and expected to miss the start of the regular season. While Ahmad will always have a place in Giants lore, his inability to stay healthy left Jerry Reese with little choice but to go in a new direction at running back.
David Wilson is expected to take over the starting spot, although that moniker may be only for book keeping purposes, as most expect Andre Brown and David Wilson to essentially share the load out of the Giants back field. Wilson has breakaway speed that should get him on his share of highlight reels this year, while Brown is a shifty, bruising back, who opened a lot of eyes last season before falling to injury late in the season. If this duo can stay healthy, there is no reason why the two cannot form a dynamic one-two punch out of the Giants back field.
2. Will JPP be the same after off-season back surgery?
Word from the Giants is that after undergoing off-season back surgery pro-bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul may not be ready for the season opener. If that turns out to be the case, Mathias Kiwanuka will hold down the starting spot until JPP is ready to get back on the field. While you can do A LOT worse than Mathias Kiwanuka as your replacement, the Giants are going to need JPP to be healthy this year after losing Osi Umenyiora in free agency, and defensive captain Justin Tuck starting to show signs of age. While it’s very possible that Pierre-Paul will be ready for week one, look for the Giants to be cautious with their star defensive end, as JPP’s health is going to play a big part in just how good the Giants defense can be this season.
3. Will we see an improved Giants secondary in 2013?
We better hope so.
After a season in which the Giants secondary ranked towards the bottom of the league in almost every significant category, the Giants need to get moe production this year out of the defensive back field if they are going to make a push for the playoffs. Giants fans should be optimistic, as there are several reasons to believe that a big improvement is on the horizon.
This improvement starts with Corey Webster, who had a very disappointing 2012 season, which saw him give up more touchdowns through the air than ANY other starting corner in the league. The silver lining is that this seems to have been an outlier for the normally reliable Webster. If Corey can return even close to his old ways, that alone should be a massive upgrade for a secondary that needs someone to step up. While we’re on the subject of stepping up, the next reason why fans should feel good about this years secondary is Prince Amukamara. In his first two seasons, Prince has shown flashes of why he was selected so high by the Giants in the 2011 NFL Draft. Always know to be a raw talent, Prince has the athletic ability to do things on the football field that few can match. The question is, can he put it all together this year and turn into the corner the Giants desperately need him to be? I say yes, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
The forgotten man in this equation is former pro-bowler Terrell Thomas, who is coming off of his second ACL surgery in as many years, and the third of his career. While the questions surrounding Thomas’s ability to return from yet another ACL surgery are valid, I do believe the former USC star will make an impact on this defense, although that impact is more likely to be in nickel packages, or as a fill-in Safety.
4. Can Hakeem Nicks stay healthy for a full season?
After showing the potential for being one of the top wide receivers in the NFL during his first few season, last year saw Nicks deal with constant injury problems, leading him to never have even close to the impact that has come to be expected out of him. As he enters a contract year it’s obvious that Nicks is going to be motivated to do whatever he can to stay on the field and produce at a high level. If Nicks can stay healthy, the Giants should have one of the leagues most potent offensive attacks. Expect to see the Giants be cautious with Nicks during pre-season, seeing as all that really matters is that he is on the field for week one.
5. Will we see improvement from the offensive line?
The Giants offensive line has always been one of the strengths of their team. However, age has started to set in for the veteran group, leading Giants GM Jerry Reese to spend his first round pick on versatile Syracuse G/T Justin Pugh. While David Diehl is still the favorite to win the staring job at Right Tackle, he will have to hold off the talented rookie to do so. Even if Diehl does win the starting role, expect to see Pugh take a lot of snaps for Big Blue this year as his versatility will allow the Giants to move him in and out of virtually every position on the line.
Tags: Andre Brown Chris Snee David Wilson Eli Manning FanSided Jason Pierre-Paul Justin Pugh Justin Tuck New York Giants New York Giants Training Camp NY Giants Osi Umenyiora Ryan Nassib Si.com Sports Illustrated Tom Coughlin