New York Giants: 7-9 season in perspective

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(Photo Credit: Robert Sabo/ New York Daily News)

The New York Giants finished the season with a 7-9 record and have their first losing season since 2004. This season was full of disappointment, hardships, hope, and bitter losses. The Giants started the season 0-6 and it looked the Giants would not even win three games, and there was a lot of talk about Tom Coughlin and whether or not he would return.

The Giants had everything go wrong for them: injuries, lack of a running game, no pass rush, and a bad season from Eli Manning. However; the Giants rallied to a 4-6 record with a chance to get back in the playoff race. Then they suffered that heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys at home and were eliminated from the playoff race. Despite the bad season, there are some things that did go right for the Giants.

One of the bright spots for the Giants was that they won 7 of their last 10 games after starting 0-6, and this is good because the Giants tend to perform poorly in the second half of the season. Also, if a few games had seen bounces go in their favor they may have made the playoffs. The Giants had a chance to win both games against Dallas and Chicago, and had they won, they would have had a (9-7) record.

Another bright spot: the Giants had players young and old emerge as major contributors to the team.

When the Giants traded for linebacker Jon Beason, they were probably hoping for him to contribute as a starter, but he emerged as one of the leaders on the defense. Beason was sitting on the bench in Carolina, and resurrected his career with the Giants, and he is someone the Giants should consider bringing back. Antrel Rolle also stepped up in a major way with 98 tackles and 6 interceptions on the season. Prince Amukamara also emerged as a good cornerback with Pro Bowl potential, and he was important in stopping teams’ top receivers after the Giants lost Corey Webster to a season ending injury. Cornerback Terrell Thomas also had a good season after being injured the last two season.

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On the offensive side the Giants saw multiple players step up and show their potential, like offensive tackle rookie Justin Pugh. Pugh was the only effective lineman for the Giants and he proved he will be a strong protector for Eli Manning. Rueben Randle emerged as a solid number two receiver for the Giants, and Jerrell Jernigan also emerged as a quality receiver in the slot after the Giants lost Victor Cruz. The biggest emergence was running back Andre Brown, who came back after breaking his leg in the final preseason game. In eight games Brown has 139 rushes for 492 yards, and if he can play the full season next year, expect better numbers.

The Giants are not as bad as they look as they prepare to go into the offseason and the NFL draft. They do not need to rebuild or make any major changes in the offseason, they just need to improve.

The biggest area where they need to improve is in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines. The Giants were at the bottom in rushing yard and in sacks this season, and those are two things that the Giants pride themselves on. They need to get younger on the offensive line because their three oldest linemen, David Baas, David Diehl and Chris Snee, sustained significant injuries. They need to get younger players who can stay healthy and be effective blockers for them on the offensive line.

As for the defensive line, the Giants need Jason Pierre Paul to get healthy and back to being the explosive player he can be. He carries a lot of the load for the defensive line, and is a game changer. He had back surgery last offseason  and never got back to what he was. New York needs him to come back fully healthy in order to have an effective pass rush.  They also have to make a decision on Justin Tuck as he hits the free agent market. He did finish with 11 sacks, but the Giants do have rookie defensive end in Damontre Moore who has potential to be a starter, and they also have to consider resigning defensive tackle Linval Joseph.

The Giants have the luxury of not having an urgency to fill any starting position on the field, as they wait for all their injured players to return to health next season. Tom Coughlin is returning, so there is no changing the offensive and defensive systems. The Giants need good young players to come in and fill roles as solid back ups in case the injury bug bites the Giants again next season.

However, maybe the biggest thing the G-men need is for Eli Manning to return as the quarterback from their last Super Bowl run.

The 2012-13 season is  in the books for the Giants, and their is nothing they can do but learn from it. The Giants showed what they were made of after their 0-6 start by finishing 7-9. The could have given up on the season and their coach, but the battled for the rest of the season. They have the talent, leadership, and the drive to be a competitive playoff team again, they just have to go out and win.

When you look back on this season, think of it as a season filled with bad luck and misfortune. The Giants had to many injuries and bad luck to overcome after the 0-6 start, but they are in good shape to be a competitive team next season.

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