Pro Football Teams


New York Giants:

The got the 'Man'ning they wanted

The New York Giants have declared a cleaning of the house this year. The team fired coach Jim Fassel cut veteran quarterback Kerry Collins and let go of experienced linebacker Michael Barrow. The team then brought the new life in with coach Tom Coughlin, rookie quarterback Eli Manning and linebacker Carlos Emmons. The team had been in a funk of some sorts failing to make the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. Last year was when it all came to a head and ownership felt like a radical change would be needed to make the team a perennial contender once again. The last time the team got into the playoffs came in 2002 when they finished with a 10-6 record and made in as a wild card. They fell to the 49ers in a game that will live in infamy because of the way the game ended. The Giants botched a field goal that would have won the game for them and instead of kicking the ball out of bounds or throwing it away the kicker ran out of the pocket and heaved it down the field at a receiver that was thought to be ineligible. There was defensive pass interference on the play but because the receiver was thought to be ineligible that was the final play of the game. The NFL eventually stepped in and said the receiver was eligible but all the NFL had to offer was a sincere apology and that was it. The last time the Giants made it to the Super Bowl was in 2000 when they squared off with the Ray Lewis led Baltimore Ravens. The team fell apart and turned the ball over five times on the way to a 34-7 rout at the hands of the Ravens. The Giants sole points came off of a 97 yard kickoff return touchdown by wide receiver Ron Dixon. Last season the Giants finished with a 4-12 record in the NFC East cellar.

Over the off-season newly hired coach Tom Coughlin felt the need to bring in some fresh blood to jump start the franchise. He did just that by releasing 16 players from last year’s team and bringing in a whopping 19 new players from different teams. Among the big names in the players gained were former NFL MVP Kurt Warner and linebacker Carlos Emmons. Emmons, who played for the Eagles last season, accumulated 64 solo tackles and 20 assists in the 2003 season.

The 2004 NFL draft was on the verge of being a soap opera for the Giants. Number one pick quarterback Eli Manning didn’t want to play for San Diego and let officials know that he was willing to sit out the entire season if they wouldn’t trade him to another team. On top of that he would have to approve of the team he would be traded to. Having someone with the pedigree that Manning has will help sell Giants tickets. The Giants drafted quarterback Phillip Rivers and then sent Rivers, a 2nd round pick in 2004, and a 1st and 5th round pick next year Eli Manning. The Giants also picked up the offensive line help they so desperately needed in the 2nd round when they snatched Boston College guard Chris Snee, who is also the father of Coughlin’s grandson.

On the offensive side of the ball the Giants ranked 19th in the NFL in team offense. The team will have to rely more on veteran running back Tiki Barber to literally carry more of the offensive load then he did last year. In 2003 the Giants finished 28th in rushing offense and with the two new quarterbacks they will need a strong running game to lean on.

When it came to stopping opponents in 2003 the Giants defense didn’t do it too often. They finished 26th overall in team defense last year. The team is hoping the new additions of Emmons and Super Bowl winning cornerback Terry Cousin will be able to plug up the leaks that were in the defense last year.

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