There are times when a quarterback and a head coach are at a crossroads in their careers. Both Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning may have found the fork in the road for both of them in New York.
Although Coughlin has brought two Super Bowl titles to the Giants since 2007 and Eli Manning was behind center for both of those wins, the New York Giants then and the New York Giants now are so completely different, you would swear this was another NFL franchise.
Now is the time to prove the extension Coughlin was given and the talent in the arm of Manning are not being wasted in the NFL’s biggest market.
The Giants won seven games last season and have seen their win total drop the last two seasons. Kevin Gilbride, Coughlin’s long time offensive coordinator retired and the team also lost Hakeem Nicks to the Indianapolis Colts in free agency. Where this team goes is anyone’s guess, but if the Giants have another losing record, do the Giants cut ties not only with Coughlin, but also think about Manning’s future. Also, if Coughlin’s future is in doubt, does that mean team general manager Jerry Reese is also on the hot seat?
Here are the five questions that need to be answered before the team starts training camp.
CAN RASHAD JENNINGS BE THE MAN IN THE BIG APPLE?
I believe he can be. As a running back in Jacksonville and then in Oakland, it showed that he could be a workhorse-like back. Jennings has fresh legs and is a bullish back, much like a fullback, which fits into the Coughlin-like back who can take punishment and break off a huge run with any carry. David Wilson has to figure into this group somehow.
WILL ODELL BECKHAM, JR. WIN OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?
He might be. When the Giants took a receiver, I thought it would be Kelvin Benjamin because of his size and skill set. Beckham is a better option because of his ability to do more things for the franchise. Also, with a fast track to play on, he is a better option for special teams play. If Manning gets back to his 2011 form, then Beckham becomes a better player, plain and simple and makes fans forget about Hakeem Nicks.
WHAT ABOUT ELI MANNING?
I stuck this question in the middle of the review because it is a fair question. Here is a stat to think about: 18 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Manning has regressed the past two seasons as a passer. And I have always had a theory that Manning was able to win his last Super Bowl and have the best season of his career statistically because Peyton was injured and out of the league. Whether we like it or not, there is some stigma attached to being Peyton Manning’s brother. The only saving grace is Eli currently has two Super Bowl rings while big brother only has one.
HOW WILL JUSTIN TUCK’S LOSS EFFECT THE TEAM?
He was an emotional leader on the field and in the locker room. Now Mathias Kiwanuka, Damontre Moore and Robert Ayers will try to fill that void. What will really be missed are has pass rush skills and the 11 sacks he had last season.
HOW GOOD CAN THIS TEAM BE?
The Giants can be a team that makes the playoffs but not win the division. They should finish anywhere from second to fourth. The record is not daunting. The divisional matchups will be crucial and brutal as they always are. New York starts the season with Detroit, Arizona, Houston, Washington and Atlanta before playing the Eagles. If the team jumps out to a 5-0 record, which could happen, look out. Momentum is a huge thing in the NFL. Tom Coughlin can help a team grow as the season wears on.