By: Kyle McMorrow
After beginning the season 11-1, the New York Giants were poised for a repeat title run; and then December came.
While on their way to a 1-3 finish to the season, the Giants opened December with back-to-back losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. In the midst of their self-destruction, Plaxico Burress was banished from the team, and starters Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck struggled through injuries. So when the Eagles visited the Meadowlands to play the Giants in the Divisional playoff game last Sunday, it was only fitting for the Giants to continue their downward spiral down the toilet.
The New York Giants must now begin the excruciating off-season process that will surly turn the team upside down and inside out in every way imaginable.
If you start with the top of the ladder and work down, there will in all likelihood be changes to the coaching staff. Reports have begun to surface that the St. Louis Rams have narrowed their search of head coaching candidates to two defensive specialists, Rex Ryan of the Baltimore Ravens, and Steve Spagnuolo of the New York Giants. Even if Spagnuolo fails to get the job, he is still coveted by many other teams around the league including the New York Jets who are also still searching for a head coach. The only hope the Giants would have of retaining their defensive guru would be to name him a coach in-waiting, in which he would then assume the role of head coach after Tom Coughlin’s departure.
On the other side of the football, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has been linked to the head coaching position for the Oakland Raiders. Raiders managing general partner Al Davis has already spoken with Gilbride on the phone, and an interview is rumored to not be far off.
As far as the players go, the Giants will be dealing with a handful of athletes who will be hitting the free agent market. Perhaps the most notable will be the possible break-up of the dominate backfield of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward will be free agents this off-season, and the Giants are expected to sign only one to return, the leading candidate most likely being Brandon Jacobs. Both Jacobs and Ward rushed for over 1,000 yards this past season.
Another free agent the Giants will most likely be parting ways with is their all-time leading wide receiver Amani Toomer. Toomer is 34 years old, and has just completed his 13th NFL season.
The Giants already have a wealth of players at the receiver spot with Dominic Hixon, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, and Sinorice Moss. The only spot the Giants need to fill would be to replace the star power lost from Plaxico Burress, and Toomer does not fit that requirement. Number 81 might just have played his last days as a member of Big Blue.
While the Giants face many questions this off-season, one thing is certain, there will be plenty of talent in this year’s free agent class to replace, re-vamp, and re-invent the former super bowl champions.
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