The 2011 season has been a roller coaster ride for the New York Giants. From two disappointing losses to the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks to clutch victories at New England, the Jets and sweeping the Cowboys to claim their first Playoff appearance and Super Bowl appearance since 2008. Regardless of the outcome in the Super Bowl, the Giants underperformed in many areas and excelled in others. The following is a breakdown of the New York Giants' 2011 season:
is the Giants' MVP in 2011 as he carried the team on his shoulders to 6 comeback victories in the 4th
quarter. His 15 TD passes in the 4th
quarter broke a record previously held by Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas at 14. Manning finished with 4,933 Yards passing with 29 TDS and 16 INTs. In 2010, Manning threw for 4,002 Yards and 31 TDs, however; he also threw a career high 25 INTs, which many questioned his ability to perform with the game on the line. Not only did Eli silence his critics, he earned his 2nd
trip to the Pro Bowl as well.
Running Backs: D+
The Giants' duo of Brandon Jacobs
and Ahmad Bradshaw
declined dramatically in 2011 with both enduring nagging injuries throughout the season. In 2010, the duo combined for 2,058 yards rushing as opposed to a combine 1,230 yards rushing in 2011. Clearly, the Giants will address this area in the offseason.
Wide Receivers: A+
2011 marked the first time in Giants history that the club had two receivers amass the 1,000-yard mark in receiving as Victor Cruz
(82/1,536) and Hakeem Nicks
(76/1,192) combined for 2,728 receiving yards. Cruz
broke the Giants' single-season record of 1,536 receiving yards, once held by Amani Toomer
. A supporting cast of Mario Manningham
and Ramses Barden
also contributed and provided depth in the WR department.
Tight Ends: C+
The emergence of 2nd
year undrafted free agent Jake Ballard
was a pleasant surprise for the Giants in 2011. With the departure of Kevin Boss
(signing with Oakland) in the offseason, the Giants had a major void at the TE position, or so it seemed. Ballard
not only contributed unexpectedly, but exceeded all expectations with a solid season of 38 catches and 604 yards for 15.9 yards per reception. Known for his blocking ability, Ballard
has been just as reliable as a receiver and has become a threat in the red zone.
Offensive Line: C-
Before the season started the Giants released two mainstay offensive linemen in Shaun O’Hara
and Rich Seubert
. With returning veterans in David Diehl, Chris Snee
and Kareem McKenzie
, the Giants had question marks along the OL. The signing of Dave Baas
was a disappointment, along with the performance of Will Beatty
as well. This is an area of major need and must be addressed in the offseason.
This area would have graded higher if Justin Tuck
and Osi Umenyiora
had played closer to their ability. However; both suffered injuries during the year; which hampered their production. The emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul
was a breath of fresh air, as he single-handedly disrupted many opposing offensive game plans. With 16.5 sacks in his 2nd
full season, JPP
saw his playing time increased due to the injuries of Tuck
and responding well and earned his 1st
Pro Bowl selection. Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Rocky Bernard
and Dave Tollefson
all contributed well and with the return of Marvin Austin
should provide depth along the DL.
The Giants' linebackers suffered major setbacks before the season began as starting MLB Jonathan Goff
and OLB Clint Sintim
suffered season-ending injuries. This along with nagging injuries to Michael Boley
and Mathias Kiwanuka
propelled rookies Greg Jones, Mark Herzlich, Jacquain Williams
and Spencer Paysinger
into additional playing time. The Giants also needed to re-sign Chase Blackburn
, who they released previously before the season opener. Although Boley and Kiwanuka got healthy at season’s end and performed well, the Giants have a need for a linebacker who can make plays. With the uncertainty of Goff
and the underperformance of Jones
at the MLB position. The Giants will focus on this area in the offseason.
Another area hampered by injuries as Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson, Michael Coe
and Brian Witherspoon
all suffered season-ending injuries. Add that to the injury to Prince Amukamara
and the Giants found themselves very thin at the cornerback position. Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, Antrel Rolle
and Deon Grant
endured a very inconsistent season with numerous breakdowns in coverages all season long. With Ross
entering free agency, the Giants will need to address this position in the offseason.
Special Teams: C-
The Giants missed Domenik Hixon
on kickoffs and punt returns for the 2nd
consecutive season due to season-ending injury. His replacements (Ross, Blackmon, Jernigan, Scott
) were all below average and provided very little production. The performance of Steve Weatherspoon
and Lawrence Tynes
were above average and both should be back for the 2012 season.
The Giants will need a major facelift despite making the Playoffs this season and advancing to the Super Bowl. Area’s such as: OL. LB. CB. RB, DL and TE should all be upgraded and addressed. With additional picks in the Draft (compensation for Barry Cofield and Kevin Boss), the Giants should be able to add the much needed talent and depth to their team. Giants GM Jerry Reese historically drafts the best available player and not by position, so it will be hard to determine which direction the GIants address first. Look for my upcoming columns on the Giants Mock Draft.