Defense wastes great year for New York's offense

Eli Manning is having a career year, one season after he was elected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. The young and fortified set of receivers came up big in the clutch game after game in the 2009 campaign. Kevin Boss had a quality season and has done a great job solidifying himself as a legitimate tight end in the NFL following the departure of Jeremy Shockey.

And then there is the defense. A defense that was known for its’ big stops in the 2007 Super Bowl run and last year’s 12-4 top-seeded season completely self-destructed in 2009. Things were looking promising under new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan after a 5-0 start, but the weaknesses became evident in the following weeks. The secondary was loaded with scrubs following the season-ending injury of Kenny Phillips and the enduring injury of Aaron Ross, as the cornerbacks and safeties started getting burned by offenses around the league.

The defense continued to put the burden on the offense, and if the offense wasn’t so talented, this season would have been a lot worse. A great example of this came in the second Giants-Eagles matchup of the year, when the defense gave up 31 points along with a special teams touchdown. The Giants’ offense was forced to keep up with the Eagles after every score but came up on the short end of the shootout.

Although the defense looked atrocious at times, the fault doesn’t fall on every position equally. The secondary will need to be addressed in the off-season, along with the linebackers. However, defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora should be able to bounce back next year as Umenyiora’s injury will have completely healed. Umenyiora expressed his displeasure with the team and organization following the week 16 loss and mentioned that he may be finished with New York after the season. However, players often complain when they are interviewed just moments after the game while the adrenaline is still flowing. Umenyiora has another year on his contract and will not be going anywhere unless the Giants trade him, which I can’t imagine happening. This situation should clear up soon and New York will move on.

Depending on how the Giants will fare this week in Minnesota will affect their position in the draft order. This could vary, as the teams only a game behind New York in the NFC standings having the ability to leapfrog them. This would be helpful for the Giants, as general manager Jerry Reese is known for his talent in drafting players.

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