The Giants are another team entering the season
with a lot of new personnel hoping to improve on a disastrous 2003 season. New York managed only 4 wins last year, their lowest total in the last 21
seasons, so they are desperate to turn things around quickly and new head-coach Tom Coughlin will certainly have his work cut out for himself. The
Giants were just brutal offensively last year averaging only 15 points per game (ranked #15 in the NFC). They will enter the season with a new QB,
either veteran Kurt Warner or rookie Eli Manning. Although Warner has been successful in the past for the Rams, he has started just 9 games the last
two seasons and is clearly just a temporary placeholder for the future starter Manning.
In January, the team hired former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin to replace the deposed Jim Fassel. Coughlin promptly broke NFL Players
Association rules in regard to offseason workouts in the spring, and was not believed to be a popular figure among many of his new charges. New York
has boasted plenty of juicy storylines in recent months, and now the franchise would like to take possession of some wins. Last year's 4-12 record was
the Giants' worst since Bill Parcells' debut season of 1983, and Coughlin will be blessed with the task of reversing the club's fortunes with a host
of new faces, in one of the league's most difficult divisions, all the while residing under the harsh media spotlight of the Big Apple.
Last Playoff appearance:
2002, 39-38 loss in San Francisco to 49ers in NFC WildCard game
Sept. 12 in Philadelphia, Sept. 19 vs. Washington, Oct. 10 in Dallas, Dec. 5 in Washington
DE Michael Strahan (6-5, 275), RB Tiki Barber (5-10, 200), TE Jeremy Shockey (6-5, 255), QB Kurt Warner (6-2, 220), QB Eli Manning
(6-4, 218), WR Amani Toomer (6-3, 202)
DE Michael Strahan (6-5, 275), RB Tiki Barber (5-10, 200), TE Jeremy Shockey (6-5, 255), WR Amani Toomer (6-3, 202), CB Will
Peterson (6-0, 197), CB Will Allen (5-10, 192), SS Shaun Williams (6-2, 215), LT Luke Petitgout (6-6, 315), P Jeff Feagles (6-1, [SITEID])
LB Carlos Emmons (6-5, 250), Philadelphia; LB Barrett Green (6-0, 225), Detroit; DT Norman Hand (6-3, 325), Seattle; C Shaun
O'Hara (6-3, 306), Cleveland; QB Kurt Warner (6-2, 220), St. Louis; FS Brent Alexander (5-11, 200), Pittsburgh
QB Kerry Collins (Oakland), DT Cornelius Griffin (Washington), LB Micheal Barrow (Washington), LB Dhani Jones
(Philadelphia), LB Brandon Short (Carolina)
The Giants paid a steep price to land their quarterback of the future, Eli Manning, while also allowing incumbent starter Kerry Collins to move on to
the Oakland Raiders. The lack of experience at the position prompted Accorsi to bring in former two-time league MVP Kurt Warner to bridge the gap
until Manning is ready to start. Warner is hoping to rejuvenate a once-spectacular career while in the Big Apple, but if you take a look at the
reasons he failed in his final seasons in St. Louis, I think it's obvious New York is not the ideal situation for him to rebound. As he rose to
stardom with the Rams, he was surrounded by a very talented receiving corps, a running back that was a tremendous threat to catch the ball out of the
backfield, and an offensive line that allowed him the time to make decisions in the passing game.
Tiki Barber is a very talented runner, but he
lacks size and continues to put the ball on the ground on a consistent basis. But the biggest problem facing the Giants at the running back position
is a lack of depth. Ron Dayne is strictly a between-the-tackles type of runner with little burst through the hole or ability to make defenders miss.
Delvin Joyce offers some versatility and is a good special teams player, but I think he and Antwoine Womack would struggle to make the roster of just
about any other team based solely on their ability as running backs. The Giants have a solid one-two punch at wide receiver with Amani Toomer and Ike
Hilliard, but they must stay healthy. With a lack of depth at the position, the Giants have to be concerned about Hilliard's past injury problems. The
team is counting on Tim Carter as the third receiver in multiple-receiver sets, but he has also struggled to stay healthy in his first two seasons,
missing 15 of 32 games. Should injury strike again, the Giants will be forced to turn to '03 sixth-round draft choices Willie Ponder, David Tyree, or
rookie Jamaar Taylor, another sixth-rounder. Veteran journeymen JuJaun Dawson and James McKnight are also in the mix for the No. 4 and No. 5 slots.
Things don't look good for the Giants in 2004. Whether Warner or Manning takes the snaps, the quarterback will be operating behind one of the NFL's
worst offensive lines. For the same reason, life will be tough for Barber and Dayne. Defensively, six of the starting front seven are new to the
lineup, and the secondary will have to prove it is over last year's injury problems. Even the special teams look sketchy. Aside from the personnel
issues, New York plays in the same division with Philadelphia, which has legitimate Super Bowl hopes, as well as Washington and Dallas, which are
counting on being playoff contenders. The Giants should be able to win more than four games in their first season under Coughlin, but it is hard to
envision this team finishing anywhere but fourth in the NFC East.